- Synonyms: Hydrogen phosphide; Phosphorated hydrogen; Phosphorus hydride; Phosphorus trihydride
- OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2080
- Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7803-51-2
- NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: SY7525000
- Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 2199 119
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Phosphine: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
- OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (1992): 0.3 ppm (0.42 mg/m3) TWA; 1 ppm (1.4 mg/m3) STEL
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.3 ppm (0.4 mg/m3) TWA; 1 ppm (1 mg/m3) STEL
- NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 50 ppm
- Potential Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea; thirst; chest pressure, dyspnea; muscle pain; chills; stupor or syncope; pulmonary edema (may be delayed); frostbite (from liquid); skin burns; numbness, paresthesia in fingers (from touching tablets); hypoglycemia, headache, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness; jaundice; cough with fluorescent green sputum; tremors; convulsions; cardiac arrhythmias; CHRONIC EXPOS.: Toothache, phossy jaw, spontaneous fractures of bones; anemia.
- Health Effects: Acute and chronic systemic toxicity (CNS effects, focal myocardial necrosis; congestive heart failure, liver and kidney damage, lung edema, anemia) (HE4), (HE7), and (HE11); Explosive, Flammable (HE18)
- Affected Organs: Respiratory system, CNS, heart, liver, kidneys
- Gas/air mixtures are explosive. May ignite spontaneously in technical grade if sufficiently contaminated with P2H4
- Odor warning when the exposure limit value is exceeded is insufficient.
- Phosphine gas is generated when the pesticides, aluminum phosphide and magnesium phosphide come in contact with moisture.
- Although occupational exposure often involves workers who apply the fumigant, enter closed areas/containers of stored agricultural products (e.g., grain, dried beans) treated with aluminum phosphide, or are involved in phosphine fires and explosions (including firefighters), one reported case involved a law enforcement officer investigating an illicit methamphetamine manufacturing site.
- One study reported an association between the agricultural use of phosphine and elevated incidence of neurologic birth defects and neurobehavioral developmental effects in northwestern Minnesota.
- Literature Basis:
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Phosphine.
- NIOSH Alert: Preventing Phosphine Poisoning and Explosions during Fumigation. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-126 (September 1999).
- International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Phosphine.
- EPA Air Toxics Website: Phosphine. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
- Brautbar, N. and Howard, J.: Phosphine toxicity: report of two cases and review of the literature. Toxicol. Ind. Health 18(2): 71-75, 2002.
- Burgess, J.L.: Phosphine exposure from a methamphetamine laboratory investigation. J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. 39(2): 165-168, 2001.
- Garry, V.F., Harkins, M.E., Erickson, L.L., Long-Simpson, L.K., Holland, S.E. and Burroughs, B.L.: Birth defects, season of conception, and sex of children born to pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA. Environ. Health Perspec. 110(Suppl. 3): 441-449, 2002.
- Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Phosphine. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1862-1864.
- Date Last Revised: 07/19/2004
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA
Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
- Polyester Filter treated with Mercuric-Chloride
- maximum volume: 240 Liters
- maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min (TWA)
- maximum volume: 30 Liters
- maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (STEL)
- current analytical method: Inductively Coupled Plasma; ICP/AES
- method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1003)
- method classification: Fully Validated
- note: Place a glass fiber filter in front of the treated polyester filter to collect solid particles.
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