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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: n-Pentane; normal-Pentane

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1990

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 109-66-0

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: RZ9450000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1265 128

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, n-Pentane: 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 -- 1000 ppm, 2950 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 500 ppm, 1500 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 500 ppm, 1500 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 600 ppm, 1770 mg/m3 TWA (TLV listed under Pentane, All isomers)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 120 ppm; 350 mg/m3 TWA; 610 ppm, 1800 mg/m3 Ceiling (15 Minutes)

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 1500 ppm [LEL]

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, nose; nausea, vomiting; headache; dermatitis; dizziness, drowsiness; chemical pneumonitis (from aspiration of liquid)

Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Skin---Mild (HE16); Narcosis (HE8); Asphyxiant (HE17); Explosive, flammable (HE18)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, CNS

Notes:

  1. Pentane is the primary agent used as a blowing agent for producing expanded polystyrene (e.g., Styrofoam). Vapor/air mixtures are explosive.
  2. The NIOSH IDLH is based upon 10% of the lower explosive limit; however, no toxicity is reported for this level. Breathing a concentration of 5000 ppm for 10 minutes did not cause dizziness in human volunteers.
  3. A normal constituent of human breath, pentane in exhaled breath has been used as an index of peroxidation of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body. However, humans breathing 100 ppm pentane metabolized about 45% and exhaled the other 55% in one study, so metabolism can contribute significantly to pentane elimination.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: n-Pentane.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): n-Pentane.
  • Galvin, J.B. and Marashi, F.: n-Pentane. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health 58(1-2): 35-56, 1999.
  • Loiseaux-Meunier, M.N., Bedu, M., Gentou, C., Pepin, D., Coudert, J. and Caillaud, D.: Basal production of pentane in expired gas from healthy humans. Clin. Chim. Acta 310(2): 123-130, 2001.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Pentane. Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1805-1807.

Date Last Revised: 03/22/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    maximum volume: 2 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 0.75 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: (NIOSH 1500 [127 KB PDF, 8 pages])
    method classification: Partially Validated

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