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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Benzo(d,e,f)phenanthrene

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2217

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 129-00-0

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: UR2450000

Chemical Description and Physical Properties:
Pale yellow or colorless solid in various forms
molecular formula: C16H10
molecular weight: 202.26
boiling point: 399°C
melting point: 158°C
Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

Health Factors

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 3, not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans

Potential symptoms: Redness of skin, eyes; chronic discoloration of skin with exposure to sunlight.

Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Skin---Mild (HE-16)

Affected organs: Eyes, skin


  1. Pyrene is metabolized to 1-hydroxy-pyrene by the cytochrome P450 isoforms CYP1A1, CYP1B1 and CYP1A2.
  2. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (or its glucuronide conjugate) has been used as a biomarker for exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in various occupations, such as asphalt paving workers, coke oven workers, and highway toll-station workers.
  3. Pyrene-1,6-dione and pyrene-1,8-dione have recently been identified as pyrene metabolites in urine (rat and human), the former occurring in 4-12-fold greater amounts than 1-hydroxypyrene in urine of pyrene-exposed humans. Measurement of unchanged pyrene in urine has also been reported for exposed workers.
  4. EPA's oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime) of pyrene is 0.03 mg/kg/day.

Section Last Revised: 12/07/2005

Literature Basis:

  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Pyrene.
  • U.S. EPA Integrated Risk Information System: Pyrene (CASRN 129-00-0).
  • Campo, L., et al.: Biological monitoring of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by determination of unmetabolized compounds in urine. Toxicol. Lett. (Epub Oct. 20), 2005.
  • Huang, W., et al.: Comparison of 1-hydroxypyrene exposure in the US population with that in occupational exposure studies. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 77(7): 491-498, 2004.
  • Kim, Y.-D., et al.: Identification of cytochrome P450 isoforms involved in 1-hydroxylation of pyrene. Environ. Res. 94(3): 262-266, 2004.
  • Lai, C.-H., et al.: Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene-glucuronide as a biomarker of exposure to various vehicle exhausts among highway toll-station workers in Taipei, Taiwan. Arch. Environ. Health 59(2): 61-69, 2004.
  • McClean, M.D., et al.: Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure among asphalt paving workers. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 48(6): 565-578, 2004.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Pyrene. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1985-1986.
  • Ruzgyte, A., Bouchard, M. and Viau, C.: Development of a high-performance liquid chromatographic method for the simultaneous determination of pyrene-1,6- and 1,8-dione in animal and human urine. J. Anal. Toxicol. 29(6): 533-538, 2005.
  • Siwińska, E., Mielżyńska, D. and Kapka, L.: Association between urinary 1-hydroxypyrene and genotoxic effects in coke oven workers. Occup. Environ. Med. 61(3): e10 (7 pp.).

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Pre-cleaned Glass Fiber Filter (37 mm)
    analytical solvent: Benzene
    maximum volume: 960 Liters   maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: High Performance Liquid Chromatography; HPLC/UV/FLU
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 58)
    method classification: Fully Validated (In conjuction with Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles and Coke Oven Emissions)
    note: OSHA personnel can obtain pre-cleaned filters, vials, and Teflon-lined caps from SLTC. After sampling, filter must be transferred to a glass vial with a PTFE-lined cap. Sample must be protected from direct sunlight.
    note: Pyrene is a polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon that OSHA has identified as one of a number of typical components of the benzene-soluble fraction of coal tar pitch volatiles. Other components include anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, phenanthrene, acridine, and chrysene. There is no specific OSHA PEL for pyrene. Pyrene is characteristic of cold tar pitch volatiles (PEL is 0.2 mg/m3) and/or coke oven emissions (PEL is 0.15 mg/m3).

Bulk method:

  • Limit the amount of bulk submitted to one gram or one mL.