<< Back to Chemical Sampling Information

Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
Search (use word(s)/phrase)
Table of Contents
By Name

By CAS Number
Quick Links

General Description

Synonyms: Dibasic zinc stearate, Zinc salt of stearic acid, Zinc distearate

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2616

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 557-05-1

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: ZH5200000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Zinc stearate: 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 -- 15 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 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; Does not include stearates of toxic metals; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens (TLV listed under Stearates)

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

Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, upper respiratory system; cough

Health Effects: Nuisance particulate-accumulation in lungs (HE19)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system


  1. Finely dispersed particles of zinc stearate in air may be explosive.
  2. Zinc stearate is listed by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) nutrient when used in accordance with good manufacturing practice (21 CFR 182.8994).
  3. Studies of a single intratracheal administration of zinc stearate (1-10 mg) in rats reported no histological evidence of fibrosis or severe pneumonia nine months later, although there was evidence of zinc retention in the lungs in a dose-related manner at nine months after the exposure.
  4. In another study, 50 mg of zinc stearate administered intratracheally caused pulmonary edema and death in 50% of the rats, whereas a 10-mg dose was "tolerated."
  5. Among 27 employees in a rubber factory who were diagnosed with irritant contact dermatitis, only one case was attributed to zinc stearate exposure.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Zinc stearate.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Zinc stearate.
  • Kilpikari, I.: Occupational contact dermatitis among rubber workers. Contact Dermatitis 8(6): 359-362, 1982.
  • Shabaline, L.P. and Spiridonova, V.S.: Toxicity and character of the effect of some zinc compounds. J. Hyg. Epidemiol. Microbiol. Immunol. 32(4): 397-405, 1988.
  • Ueda, A., Harada, K., Ueda, T. and Nomura, S.: Experimental study on the pathological changes in lung tissue caused by zinc stearate dust. Ind. Health 22(4): 243-253, 1984.

Date Last Revised: 02/02/2007

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: tared 37-mm diameter low-ash polyvinyl chloride filter
    maximum volume: 480 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Gravimetric
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2121)
    method classification: Partially Validated
    note: OSHA personnel can obtain tared sampling media from the Salt Lake Technical Center.
    note: If the net weight of the sample yields a concentration below the standard for the substance, the Salt Lake Technical Center will perform no further work on that sample. If the net weight corresponds to an amount greater than the standard, the sample may be analyzed for the appropriate element and the result reported as the substance.
    current elemental analysis method: Atomic Absorbtion Spectroscopy; AAS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: An elemental analysis is performed for total zinc and reported as the compound.

** All Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.