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Methyl Alcohol

General Description

Synonyms:  Methanol; Wood alcohol; Columbian spirits; Carbinol

OSHA IMIS code: 1660

CAS number(s): 67-56-1

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs
OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1
200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA
HE3 -- accumulation in blood and tissues
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA HE3 -- accumulation in blood and tissues
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA HE3 -- accumulation in blood and tissues
NIOSH REL 200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA
250 ppm (325 mg/m3) STEL
Skin
HE3 -- visual disturbances, optic neuropathy
HE7 -- headache, drowsiness, dizziness
target organs: brain, central nervous system
HE16 -- eye, skin, and respiratory irritation; dermatitis
ACGIH TLV® (2008)

200 ppm (262 mg/m3) TWA
250 ppm (328 mg/m3) STEL
BEI®
Skin

HE3 -- visual disturbances, optic neuropathy
HE4 -- metabolic acidosis
HE7 -- headache, dizziness
target organs: brain, central nervous system
HE8 -- narcosis
target organs: brain, central nervous system
HE16 -- sensory irritation
target organs: eyes, skin, respiratory system
CAL/OSHA PELs 200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA
1000 ppm Ceiling
250 ppm (325 mg/m3) STEL
Skin
HE3 -- visual disturbances, optic neuropathy
HE4 -- metabolic acidosis
HE7 -- headache, dizziness
target organs: brain, central nervous system
HE8 -- narcosis
target organs: brain, central nervous system
HE16 -- sensory irritation
target organs: eyes, skin, respiratory system

Carcinogenic classification:

  • NTP: Not listed
  • IARC: Not listed
  • EPA: Not listed

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): Not established

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 6,000 ppm

Notes on other potential health effects and hazards:

  1. Vapor/air mixtures are highly flammable and explosive (NIOSH/IPCS 2000).
  2. Both acute and chronic exposures can cause specific brain lesions that lead to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease (Finklestein and Vardi 2002), seizures, polyneuropathy, trigeminal anesthesia, and visual/smelling loss (Hageman et al. 2003).

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Methanol. 2016.
  • Finkelstein, Y. and Vardi, J.: Progressive parkinsonism in a young experimental physicist following long-term exposure to methanol. Neurotoxicology 23(4-5): 521-525, 2002.
  • Hageman, G., van der Hoek, J.A. and Faber, C.G.: Spastic paraparesis without optic atrophy after occupational methanol exposure. J. Neurol. 250(7): 876-877, 2003.
  • NIOSH. Occupational Health Guideline for Methyl Alcohol. September 1978.
  • NIOSH. Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Methyl Alcohol. March 1976.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS. International Chemical Safety CardsMethanol. November 4, 2000.

Chemical Sampling Information

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