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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Nitrocarbol

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1920

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 75-52-5

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: PA9800000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1261 129

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Nitromethane: 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): 20 ppm, 50 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A3 - Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 100 ppm TWA; Appendix D - Substances With No Established RELs

Health Factors

Carcinogenic Classification:
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans [52 KB PDF, 15 pages]
NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 750 ppm

Potential Symptoms: Dermatitis; irritation eyes, respiratory system, cough, sore throat; headache, drowsiness; nausea, vomiting; unconsciousness; sensorimotor polyneuropathy (2 cases reported); in animals: convulsions; liver damage; degeneration of olfactory and respiratory epithelium; sciatic nerve degeneration, hindlimb paralysis.

Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Mild (HE16); Narcosis (HE8); Nerve damage (HE7); Cumulative liver and lung damage (HE3). Explosive, flammable (HE18)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, CNS, liver, peripheral nervous system

  1. Vapor/air mixtures can be explosive; forms an explosive sodium salt that bursts into flame on contact with water.
  2. Worker exposure may occur during use as an anti-corrosive in mixtures with methylchloroform and other degreasing or propellant halogenated hydrocarbons, a solvent for adhesives and acrylics, and in (or as) fuel by professional drag racers and racing hobbyists.
Date Last Revised: 06/30/2004

Literature Basis:
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Nitromethane.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Nitromethane.
  • Page, E.H., Pajeau, A.K., Arnold, T.C., Fincher, A.R. and Goddard, M.J.: Peripheral neuropathy in workers exposed to nitromethane. Am. J. Ind. Med. 40(1): 107-113, 2001.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Nitromethane. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1721-1722.
  • Webb, K.G. and Fowler, J.F., Jr.: Occupational allergic dermatitis to nitromethane. Am. J. Contact Dermat. 13(4): 201-202, 2002.
  • [No authors listed]: Nitromethane. IARC Monogr. Eval. Carcinog. Risks Hum. [52 KB PDF, 15 pages]. 77: 487-501, 2000.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Chromosorb 106 Tube (600/300 mg sections, 60/80 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Ethyl Acetate
    maximum volume: 3 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/NPD
    method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 2527) [21 KB PDF, 4 pages].
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Chromosorb 106 resin must be pre-extracted with acetone before use. Immediately after sampling, transfer front and back sections of sample tube to separate vials.

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Page last updated: 12/20/2004

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