Skip directly to local search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home
May 1994

Documentation for Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs)


CAS number: 107-13-1

NIOSH REL: 1 ppm TWA, 10 ppm 15-minute CEILING [skin]; NIOSH considers acrylonitrile to be a potential occupational carcinogen as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990].

Current OSHA PEL: 2 ppm TWA, 10 ppm 15-minute CEILING [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 2 ppm (4.3 mg/m3) TWA [skin], A2

Description of substance: Colorless to pale-yellow liquid with an unpleasant odor.

LEL: 3.0% (10% LEL, 3,000 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 500 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the statement by Spector [1956] about a rat 4-hour LC50 of 500 ppm [Carpenter et al. 1949].

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:

  LC50 LCLo   0.5-hr Derived
Species Reference (ppm) (ppm) Time LC (CF) Value
Rat Carpenter et al. 1949 500 ----- 4 hr 3,635 ppm (7.27) 364 ppm
Rabbit Dudley and Neal 1942 ----- 260 4 hr 1,890 ppm (7.27) 189 ppm
G. pig Dudley and Neal 1942 ----- 575 4 hr 4,180 ppm (7.27) 418 ppm
Mouse Dudley and Neal 1942 313 ----- 4 hr 2,276 ppm (7.27) 228 ppm
Rat Jaeger et al. 1974 425 ----- 4 hr 3,090 ppm (7.27) 309 ppm
Rat Patty 1963 ----- 636 4 hr 4,624 ppm (7.27) 462 ppm
Human Schwanecke 1966 ----- 452 1 hr 850 ppm (1.88) 85 ppm

*Note: Conversion factor (CF) was determined with "n" = 1.1 [ten Berge et al. 1986].

Other human data: None relevant for use in determining the revised IDLH.

Revised IDLH: 85 ppm

Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for acrylonitrile is 85 ppm based on acute inhalation toxicity data in humans [Schwanecke 1966]. [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the "most protective" respirators be worn for acrylonitrile at concentrations above 1 ppm. OSHA currently requires in 29 CFR 1919.1045 that workers be provided with and required to wear and use the "most protective" respirators in concentrations exceeding 4,000 ppm (i.e., 2,000 x the PEL).]


  1. Carpenter CP, Smyth HF Jr, Pozzani UC [1949]. The assay of acute toxicity, and the grading and interpretation of results of 96 chemical compounds. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 31(6):344.
  2. Dudley HC, Neal PA [1942]. Toxicology of acrylonitrile (vinyl cyanide). A study of the acute toxicity. J Ind Hyg Toxicol 24(2):27-36.
  3. Jaeger RJ, Conolly RB, Murphy SD [1974]. Toxicity and biochemical changes in rats after inhalation exposure to 1.1-dichloroethylene, bromobenzene, styrene, acrylonitrile or 2-chlorobutadiene. (Abstract for Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, Washington, DC, March 10-14, 1974.) Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 29:81.
  4. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., pp. 2009-2011.
  5. Schwanecke R [1966]. Safety hazards in the handling of acrylonitrile and methacrylonitrile. Zentralbl Arbeitsmed Arbeitsschutz 16(1):1-3 (in German).
  6. Spector WS, ed. [1956]. Handbook of toxicology. Vol. I. Acute toxicities of solids, liquids and gases to laboratory animals. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company, pp. 322-323.
  7. ten Berge WF, Zwart A, Appelman LM [1986]. Concentration-time mortality response relationship of irritant and systematically acting vapours and gases. J Haz Mat 13:301-309.
Contact Us: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO