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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Corn starch; Rice starch; Sorghum gum; alpha-Starch; Starch gum; Tapioca starch

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2263

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 9005-25-8

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: GM5090000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Starch: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):

General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1 - 15 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards - 15 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 10 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 10 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, mucous membranes; rhinorrhea, cough, chest pain; dermatitis

Health Effects: Nuisance particulate (HE19)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system

Notes:

  1. Starch is a noncombustible, but under certain circumstances its dust may represent an explosion hazard (see OSHA, 2005).
  2. Allergic contact dermatitis (urticaria) from cornstarch powder in latex gloves has been reported in health-care workers.
  3. Airborne starch particles have been measured in hospital rooms where powdered latex gloves were used.
  4. An inhalational study in healthy human volunteers exposed to cornstarch surgical glove powder at a median total dust concentration of 5.9 mg/m3 (respirable 0.62 mg/m3; ~40% organic, rest MgO) for one hour resulted in a 3-fold increase in inflammatory cells (eosinophilic granulocytes, alveolar macrophages, CD4+ T-cells) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
  5. In one potato processing plant, workers pouring sacks of potato starch and corn starch during the production of "potato syrup" were exposed to airborne dust in the range of 115-200 mg/m3. The health effects of this exposure were not reported, but other authors consider airborne endotoxin to have an important role in the work-related symptoms of potato-processing workers.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Starch.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Starch.
  • OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB 07-31-2005): Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions.
  • Crippa, M. and Pasolini, G.: Allergic reaction due to glove-lubricant-powder in health-care workers. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 70(6): 399-402, 1997.
  • Dutkiewicz, J., Krysińska-Traczyk, E., Skórska, C., Cholewa, G. and Sitkowska, J.: Exposure to airborne microorganisms and endotoxin in a potato processing plant. Ann. Agric. Environ. Med. 9(2): 225-235, 2002.
  • Ewers, L.M. and Tapp, L.C.: Endotoxin exposures during potato processing. Appl. Occup. Environ. Hyg. 16(12): 1079-1087, 2001.
  • Grunewald, J., et al.: Lung accumulations of eosinophil granulocytes after exposure to cornstarch glove powder. Eur. Respir. J. 21(4): 646-651, 2003.
  • Newsom, S.W. and Shaw, M.: A survey of starch particle counts in the hospital environment in relation to the use of powdered latex gloves. Occup. Med. (Lond.) 47(3): 155-158, 1997.

Date Last Revised: 10/11/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

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