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Selenium Compounds (as Se)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Elemental selenium; Selenium alloy; Selenium sulfide
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2230
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7782-49-2; 7446-34-6 (Selenium sulfide)
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: VS7700000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 2658 152 (powder)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Selenium: 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): 0.2 mg/m3 TWA
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.2 mg/m3 TWA; This REL does not apply to Selenium hexafluoride

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 1 mg/m3 (as Se)
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, nose, throat; visual disturbance; headache; chills, fever, weakness; cough, nosebleeds; dyspnea, bronchial spasms; bronchitis; pulmonary edema; metallic taste, garlic breath; GI disturbance; dermatitis; eye, skin burns; lowered hemoglobin levels; tachycardia; tremors; Chronic ingestion: Discoloration of skin, teeth (yellowish); thickened and brittle nails; nail and hair loss; excessive tooth decay; garlic odor of breath and urine; lack of mental alertness; mood changes (depression, listlessness, irritability).
  • Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Moderate (HE15) Cumulative systemic toxicity (HE3)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys, blood, spleen
  • Notes:
    1. Selenium sulfide is an OSHA Select carcinogen.
    2. Selenium is an essential trace element found in the naturally occurring amino acids, selenocysteine and selenomethionine, and is associated with selenoproteins such as glutathione peroxidase and iodothyronine 5-deiodinase. Its recommended daily allowance is 0.055 mg/day.
    3. It has been suggested that the major urinary metabolite of selenium normally is 1ß-methylseleno-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine but during exposure to high toxic levels, trimethylselenonium ion is also found in urine and dimethylselenide is expired in the breath.
    4. An organoselenium compound, ebselen, is under investigation as a potential neuroprotectant drug.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Selenium.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Selenium.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Selenium Compounds. US Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • Goldhaber, S.B.: Trace element risk assessment: essentiality vs. toxicity. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 38(2): 232-242, 2003.
    • Kobayashi, Y., Ogra, Y., Ishiwata, K., Takayama, H., Aimi, N. and Suzuki, K.T.: Selenosugars are key and urinary metabolites for selenium excretion within the required to low-toxic range. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99(25): 15932-15936, 2002.
    • Parnham, M. and Sies, H.: Ebselen: prospective therapy for cerebral ischaemia. Expert Opin. Investig. Drugs 9(3): 607-619, 2000.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Selenium. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 2016-2018.
    • Vinceti, M., Wei, E.T., Malagoli, C., Bergomi, M. and Vivoli, G.: Adverse health effects of selenium in humans. Rev. Environ. Health 16(4): 233-251, 2001.
  • Date Last Revised: 08/06/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • maximum volume: 480 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
  • method classification: Validated
  • note: Submit as a separate sample. If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period.

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