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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Mineral oil; Paraffin oil mist; Heavy mineral oil mist; White mineral oil mist; Petroleum-base cutting oils

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 5010

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 8012-95-1

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: PY8030000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Oil Mist (Mineral): Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more





Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit

Limit Values

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

5 mg/m3 TWA

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

5 mg/m3 TWA

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

5 mg/m3 TWA

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

5 mg/m3
TWA

10 mg/m3
STEL

HE15

Lung irritation, dermatitis

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2010)

Highly refined:
5 mg/m3
TWA
(inhalable fraction)

A4

HE10

Decreased pulmonary function

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation, dermatitis

Poorly or mildly refined:
Not established; exposure by all routes should be carefully controlled to levels as low as possible

A2

HE2

Skin or other cancers

HE10

Decreased pulmonary function

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation, dermatitis

CAL/OSHA PEL

5 mg/m3
TWA
(particulate)

HE10

Decreased pulmonary function

HE15

Upper respiratory tract irritation, dermatitis

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be human carcinogens (untreated or mildly treated mineral oils) [116 KB PDF, 2 pages]; Not listed (highly refined mineral oils)

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 [542 KB PDF, 18 pages] (carcinogenic to humans [untreated or mildly treated mineral oils]); Group 3 [234 KB PDF, 3 pages] (not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans [highly refined mineral oils])

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 2,500 mg/m3

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. Lung disease and fibrosis of the lung may continue to worsen after removal from exposure (Skyberg et al. 1992).
  2. There were 2 reported cases of fire-eater's pneumonia, a type of chemical pneumonitis that can occur during a flame-blowing or fire-eating performance, after accidental aspiration of paraffin oil. Symptoms included chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, fever, and hemoptysis (Yitig et al. 2012).
  3. An uncommon but potentially serious disease resulting from exposure to oil mist is exogenous lipoid pneumonia. With this condition, proliferative fibrosis of the lungs can occur. The main issue with the disease is that symptoms are often nonspecific, and roentgenographic findings may simulate other diseases, so people may go undiagnosed. This could then lead to serious complications due to inappropriate curative measures (Spickard and Hirschmann 1994).
  4. Regarding dermatitis, which may take a long time to heal, it has been suggested that biocides are the most common cause of allergic skin reactions, whereas irritation is mainly due to emulsifiers in the oil (Pryce et al. 1989).
  5. Machining operations using straight, soluble and semi-synthetic fluids cause exposure to oil mist. These aerosols are complex mixtures including oil mist. Exposure to these mixtures is associated with respiratory conditions and possibly cancer, although the fraction of effects attributable to oil mist is undefined. (NIOSH, 1998).
  6.  A substantial fraction of oil mist evaporates from filter samples, thereby underestimating exposure. (Volckens, 1999).

Literature Basis

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) Mineral Oil, Excluding Metal Working Fluids. 2010.
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Metalworking Fluids, DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 98-102, (1998).
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Mineral Oil Mist. September 1978.
  • Pryce, D.W., White, J, English, J.S.C. and Rycroft, R.J.G.: Soluble oil dermatitis: a review. J. Soc. Occup. Med. 39(3): 93-98, 1989.
  • Skyberg, K., Rønneberg, A., Christensen, C.C., Næss-Andresen, C.F., Borgersen, A. and Refsum, H.E.: Lung function and radiographic signs of pulmonary fibrosis in oil exposed workers in a cable manufacturing company: a follow up study. Br. J. Ind. Med. 49(5): 309-315, 1992.
  • Spickard, A., III and Hirschmann, J.V.: Exogenous lipoid pneumonia. Arch Intern. Med. 154(6): 686-692, 1994.
  • Volckens J et al, Oil Mist Concentration: A Comparison of Sampling Methods, American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Volume 60, 684-689, 1999
  • Yitig, O., Bektas, F., Sayrac, AV, and Senay, E. Fire-eater's pneumonia: two case reports of accidentally aspirated paraffin oil. J Emerg Med. 42(4): 417-419, 2012

Date Last Revised: 12/11/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Tared 37-mm diameter low-ash polyvinyl chloride filter
    maximum volume: 960 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Gravimetric
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2121)
    method classification: Partially Validated
    note: OSHA personnel can obtain tared sampling media from SLTC.
    note: If the net weight of the sample yields a concentration below the standard for the substance, SLTC will perform no further work on that sample. If the net weight corresponds to an amount greater than the standard, the sample may be analyzed for the oil and the result reported as that oil mist.
    note: Submit a sample of the bulk oil substance in a separate mailing container other than used for air samples. Indicate on the air sample submission sheet that a bulk sample has been submitted. Cutting oils may contain nitrosamines.
    current oil mist analysis method: The bulk sample is determined to fluoresce or not to fluoresce, and then the appropriate analysis method listed below is used to perform the analysis.
    • fluorescence analytical method: Analysis is for oils that fluoresce
      method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-128)
      method classification: Partially Validated
    • infra red analytical method: Analysis is for oils that do not fluoresce
      method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-178SG)
      method classification: Partially Validated

On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Oil Mist 1/a, order no. 67 33031
    sampling information: 100 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 10 mg/m3
    detection limit: 1 mg/m3
    overall uncertainty: 50 %
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Oil 10/a-P, order no. 67 28371
    sampling information: see tube instructions
    upper measurement limit: 1 mg/m3
    detection limit: 0.1 mg/m3
    overall uncertainty: see tube instructions
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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