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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Diethylene oxide; Tetramethylene oxide; THF

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2390

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 109-99-9

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: LU5950000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 2056 127

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

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):

General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- 200 ppm, 590 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 200 ppm, 590 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 200 ppm, 590 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 200 ppm, 590 mg/m3 TWA; 250 ppm, 737 mg/m3 STEL; BEI

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 200 ppm, 590 mg/m3 TWA; 250 ppm, 735 mg/m3 STEL

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 2,000 ppm [LEL]

Potential Symptoms: Eye, upper respiratory irritation; cough, sore throat; nausea; dizziness; headache, CNS depression, unconsciousness; dermatitis (from repeated or prolonged contact)

Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin-Moderate (HE15) Narcosis (HE8); Mutagen (HE2)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, CNS, liver

Notes:

  1. The IDLH is 10% of the lower explosive limit (2%).
  2. Anesthesia occurs at 25,000 ppm.
  3. Metabolized in part to gamma-hydroxy butyrate, a CNS depressant (Schedule III when used in the anti-cataplexy drug, Xyrem, with schedule I penalties if used as a "date-rape" drug). THF is not controlled.
  4. Occupational exposure in confined space has been reported to cause elevation of liver enzymes (hepatotoxicity).
  5. Rodent carcinogenicity studies found clear evidence of liver cancer in female mice and some evidence of kidney cancer in male rats.
  6. The FDA-recommended limit of THF exposure as a residual solvent in pharmaceuticals is 7.2 mg/day, with a concentration limit of 720 ppm.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Tetrahydrofuran.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Tetrahydrofuran.
  • Cartigny, B., et al.: 1H NMR spectroscopic investigation of serum and urine in a case of acute tetrahydrofuran poisoning. J. Anal. Toxicol. 25(4): 270-274, 2001.
  • Chhabra R.S., Herbert, R.A., Roycroft, J.H., Chou, B., Miller, R.A. and Renne, R.A.: Carcinogenesis studies of tetrahydrofuran vapors in rats and mice. Toxicol. Sci. 41(2): 183-188, 1998.
  • Food and Drug Administration: International Conference on Harmonization: final recommendations on the revision of the permitted daily exposures for two solvents, n-methylpyrrolidone and tetrahydrofuran, according to the maintenance procedures for the guidance Q3C Impurities: Residual Solvents; Availability. Notice. Fed. Regist. 68(219): 64352-64353, 2003.
  • Garnier, R., Rosenberg, N., Puissant, J.M., Chauvet, J.P. and Efthymiou, M.L.: Tetrahydrofuran poisoning after occupational exposure. Br. J. Ind. Med. 46(9): 677-678, 1989.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Tetrahydrofuran. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 2178-2180.

Date Last Revised: 03/16/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    alternative analytical solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide/Dimethylformamide
    maximum volume: 9 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 3 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: (NIOSH 1609 [19 KB PDF, 3 pages])
    method classification: Partially Validated

On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: AUER/MSA
    model/type: Ethanol-100, MSA P/N 804136, AUER P/N 5086-818
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 980 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 15 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 159
    sampling information: 1 or 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 800 ppm
    detection limit: 2 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 25% for 50 to 200 ppm, 16% for 200 to 800 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 161
    sampling information: 1 stroke
    upper measurement limit: 1.4%
    detection limit: approximately 0.03%
    overall uncertainty: 16%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-102SA
    sampling information: 0.5 or 1 stroke
    upper measurement limit: 5%
    detection limit: approximately 0.01%
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-162U
    sampling information: 1 stroke
    upper measurement limit: 400 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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