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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Methyl methanoate; Formic acid, Methyl ester

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1770

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 107-31-3

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: LQ8925000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1243 129

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Methyl formate: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):

General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- 100 ppm, 250 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 100 ppm, 250 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 100 ppm, 250 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 100 ppm, 246 mg/m3 TWA; 150 ppm, 369 mg/m3 STEL

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 100 ppm, 250 mg/m3 TWA; 150 ppm, 375 mg/m3 STEL

Health Factors

Carcinogenic Classification:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 3 - Not Classifiable as to its Carcinogenicity to Humans

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 4,500 ppm

Potential Symptoms: Eye, nose, skin irritation; chest tightness, cough, dyspnea (labored breathing, shortness of breath), bronchitis; visual disturbance; headache, dizziness, CNS depression, unconsciousness; drying and cracking of the skin; in animals: pulmonary edema; narcosis.

Health Effects: CNS effects (HE7); Narcosis (HE8); Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Moderate (HE15)

Affected Organs: Eyes, respiratory system, CNS

Notes:

  1. Vapor/air mixtures are explosive. Odor warning is insufficient when exposure limit is exceeded.
  2. Metabolized in the liver to formic acid and formaldehyde by cytochrome P450, and the formaldehyde is further metabolized in the body to methanol and formic acid, which can be measured in urine.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Methyl Formate.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Methyl Formate.
  • Nihlen, A. and Droz, P.O.: Toxicokinetic modeling of methyl formate exposure and implications for biological monitoring. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 73(7): 479-487, 2000.
  • Peng, H.M., Raner, G.M., Vaz, A.D. and Coon, M.J.: Oxidative cleavage of esters and amides to carbonyl products by cytochrome P450. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 318(2):333-339, 1995.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Methyl Formate. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1572-1573.

Date Last Revised: 03/01/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: SKC, Inc. Anasorb 747 Tube (400/200 mg sections)
    analytical solvent: (90:10) Methanol/Dimethyl Formamide
    maximum volume: 3 Liters  
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography : GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2041)
    method classification: Partially Validated
    note: Samples must be refrigerated as soon after sampling as possible and sent to the laboratory refrigerated and overnight.

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