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Synonyms: Iron (III) Oxide; Iron oxide red; Red iron oxide; Red oxide; Ferric oxide
OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2229
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 1309-37-1
NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: NO7400000
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Rouge: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- 15 mg/m3
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 10 mg/m3 TWA; The value is for particulate matter containing no asbestos and <1% crystalline silica. Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 15 mg/m3
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): Appendix D - Substances With No Established RELs
Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory system, cough; metal fume fever; siderosis (a benign condition); iron staining of the eyes.
Health Effects: Nuisance particulate-Accumulation in lungs (HE19)
Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system
Date Last Revised: 09/27/2005
- The acute intrapulmonary instillation of small ferric oxide particles in human volunteers induced a transient subclinical inflammation that resolved within 4 days.
- The ferric oxide particles are taken up by alveolar macrophages and cleared in two phases, one with a short half-life of 0.5 day and one with a long half-life of 110 days.
- The inhalation of respirable iron oxide particles at an average concentration of 12.7 mg/m3 for 30 minutes by human volunteers was reported to not significantly affect alveolar epithelial permeability, lung diffusing capacity, or pulmonary function.
- Of six different abrasive blasting agents tested for pulmonary toxicity in rats, specular hematite (98-99% ferric oxide) was the only one lacking evidence of pulmonary toxicity.
- Ferric oxide is listed as an indirect food substance affirmed by the FDA as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when used at levels not to exceed good manufacturing practice (21 CFR 186.1300).
Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
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- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Rouge.
- International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Ferric Oxide.
- Hubbs, A., et al.: Comparative pulmonary toxicity of 6 abrasive blasting agents. Toxicol. Sci. 61(1): 135-143, 2001.
- Lay, J.C., Bennett, W.D., Kim, C.S., Devlin, R.B. and Bromberg, P.A.: Retention and intracellular distribution of instilled iron oxide particles in human alveolar macrophages. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 18(5): 687-695, 1998.
- Lay, J.C., Zeman, K.L., Ghio, A.J. and Bennett, W.D.: Effects of inhaled iron oxide particles on alveolar epithelial permeability in normal subjects. Inhal. Toxicol. 13(12): 1065-1078, 2001.
- Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Iron Oxide (Fume). In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1315-1317.
Page last updated: 04/11/2006