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Phthalic Anhydride

General Description

  • Synonyms: 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic anhydride; 1,2 Benzene-dicarboxylic acid anhydride; 1,3, Dioxophthalan; 1,3 Isobenzoflurandione; PAN; Phthalic acid anhydride
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2110
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 85-44-9
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: TI3150000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 2214 156
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Phthalic Anhydride: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (1992): 1 ppm (6.1 mg/m3) TWA; dermal sensitizer (DSEM); respiratory sensitizer (RSEN); A4
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 1 ppm (6 mg/m3) TWA

Health Factors

  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 60 mg/m3
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, upper respiratory system, conjunctivitis, nasal ulcer bleeding; cough, sore throat, wheezing, bronchitis; bronchial asthma; dermatitis; in animals: liver, kidney damage
  • Health Effects: Irritation- Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Marked (HE14) Asthma (HE9); Contact skin irritant and sensitizer (HE3)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys
  • Notes:
    1. EPA's oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime) for phthalic anhydride is 2.0 mg/kg/day. EPA's provisional reference concentration in air is 0.12 mg/m3.
    2. Irritation of moist mucosa or wet skin may be due to the conversion of phthalic anhydride to phthalic acid by contact with water.
    3. The urinary excretion of phthalic acid has been measured to study employee exposure to airborne phthalic anhydride.
    4. Phthalic anhydride in plastic film and labels used to package meats was reported to be the major cause of "meat wrapper's asthma."
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Phthalic anhydride.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Phthalic anhydride.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Phthalic anhydride. US Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • Liss, G.M., Albro, P.W., Hartle, R.W. and Stringer, W.T.: Urine phthalate determinations as an index of occupational exposure to phthalic anhydride and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate. Scand. J. Work Environ. Health 11(5): 381-387, 1985.
    • Pauli, G., et al.: Meat wrapper's asthma: identification of the causal agent. Clin. Allergy 10(3): 263-269, 1980.
    • Pfaffli, P.: Phthalic acid excretion as an indicator of exposure to phthalic anhydride in the work atmosphere. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 58(3): 209-216, 1986.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Phthalic anhydride. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1879-1881.
  • Date Last Revised: 09/27/2006

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Two Coated Glass Fiber Filters (37 mm) Coating is 10 mg Veratryamine
  • analytical solvent: (90:10) Acetonitrile: Dimethylsulfoxide
  • maximum volume: 75 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: High Performance Liquid Chromatography; HPLC/UV
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 90)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: Store filters under refrigeration and use within 1 month. Small interfering peaks start appearing after that time.

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