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Synonyms: Carboxyethane; Ethanecarboxylic acid; Ethylformic acid; Metacetonic acid; Methyl acetic acid; Propanoic acid
OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2168
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 79-09-4
NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: UE5950000
Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1848 132
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Propionic acid: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 10 ppm, 30 mg/m3 TWA
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 10 ppm, 30 mg/m3 TWA; 15 ppm, 45 mg/m3 STEL
Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, nose, throat; blurred vision, corneal burns; cough, shortness of breath, sore throat; skin blisters, burns (from contact with liquid); INGES. ACUTE: Abdominal cramps; nausea, vomiting; shock or collapse.
Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Marked (HE14)
Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system
- OSHA does not have a PEL for propionic acid.
- Explosive vapor/air mixtures of propionic acid may be formed at temperatures above 54°C.
- Propionic acid is listed by the FDA as a synthetic flavoring substance that is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for its intended use (21 CFR 184.1081)
- Normal human volunteers showed a concentration-related reduction in nose-only cumulative inhaled volume at 8.22 and 59.15 ppm propionic acid, whereas anosmic individuals showed a reduction (which was smaller) only at 59.15 ppm. This indicates a significant olfactory component of this respiratory response to nasal irritation from propionic acid.
- The formation of tumors in the forestomachs of rats fed propionic acid is thought to not be relevant to human health.
- Propionic acidemia is an inherited inborn error of metabolism due to the deficiency of propionyl-CoA carboxylase, and no occupationally related cases have been reported.
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Propionic acid.
- International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Propionic acid.
- Harrison, P.T.: Propionic acid and the phenomenon of rodent forestomach tumorigenesis: a review. Food Chem. Toxicol. 30(4): 333-340, 1992.
- Henschel, R., Agathos, M. and Breit, R.: Acute irritant contact dermatitis from propionic acid used in animal feed preservation. Contact Dermatitis 40(6): 328, 1999.
- Lehnert, W., Sperl, W., Suormala, T. and Baumgartner, E.R.: Propionic academia: clinical, biochemical and therapeutic aspects. Experience in 30 patients. Eur. J. Pediatr. 153(7 Suppl. 1): S-68-S80.
- Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Propionic Acid. In, Sittig’s Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1955-1957.
- Walker, J.C., Kendal-Reed, M., Hall, S.B., Morgan, W.T., Polyakov, V.V. and Lutz, R.W.: Human responses to propionic acid. II. Quantification of breathing responses and their relationship to perception. Chem. Senses 26(4): 351-358, 2001.
Date Last Revised: 02/27/2007
Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
- sampling media: Silica Gel Tube (520/260 mesh)
analytical solvent: (50:50) Acetone: Water
other analytical solvent: 0.0015 M Borate Buffer for IC analysis
maximum volume: 18 Liters
maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min
current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
alternate analytical method: Ion Chromatography; IC/Conductivity
method reference: OSHA (In-House File)
method classification: Partially Validated
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