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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Zinc Chloride; Zinc dichloride fume

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2611

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7646-85-7

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: ZH1400000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 2331 154

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Zinc chloride fume: 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 -- 1 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 1 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 1 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 1 mg/m3 TWA; 2 mg/m3 STEL

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 1 mg/m3 TWA; 2 mg/m3 STEL

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 50 mg/m3

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, nose, throat; conjunctivitis; cough, copious sputum; dyspnea, chest pain, pulmonary edema (may be delayed); pneumonitis; pulmonary fibrosis; cor pulmonale; headache, sore throat, fever; cyanosis; tachypnea; skin burns, pain, redness; eye pain, redness, severe deep burns

Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Marked (HE14); Acute lung damage---Acute respiratory distress syndrome (HE11); Mutagen (HE2)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, cardiovascular system


  1. Zinc chloride fume is generated during ignition of smoke bombs containing zinc oxide, hexachloroethane, calcium silicate, as well as some minor components. In an aqueous environment, zinc chloride, in turn, also generates other corrosive chemicals, hydrochloric acid and zinc oxychloride.
  2. As an essential element, zinc is a cofactor for over 200 biologically important enzymes and has a recommended daily adult allowance of 15 mg.
  3. Zinc chloride is listed by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe nutrient when used in accordance with good manufacturing practice (21 CFR 182.8985).

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Zinc chloride fume.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Zinc chloride.
  • Barceloux, D.G.: Zinc. J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. 37(2): 279-292, 1999.
  • Pettilä, V., Takkunen, O. and Tukiainen, P.: Zinc chloride smoke inhalation: a rare cause of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. Intensive Care Med. 26(2): 215-217, 2000.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Zinc chloride. Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 2354-2356.
  • Zerahn, B., et al.: Pulmonary damage after modest exposure to zinc chloride smoke. Respir. Med. 93(12): 885-890, 1999.

Date Last Revised: 08/26/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
    analytical solvent: Deionized Water
    maximum volume: 960 Liters
    minimum volume: 480 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 30 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
    method classification: Validated
    note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period. Analytical method does not distinguish between dust and fume. When analysis of a compound is requested, an elemental analysis is performed and reported as the compound. Analysis is for water soluble compounds and reported as ZnCl2.

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