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Boron trifluoride

May 1994
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)

CAS number: 7637-07-2

NIOSH REL: 1 ppm (3 mg/m3) CEILING

Current OSHA PEL: 1 ppm (3 mg/m3) CEILING

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 1 ppm (2.8 mg/m3) CEILING

Description of Substance: Colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor.

LEL: Nonflammable Gas

Original (SCP) IDLH: 100 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: Because no useful data on acute inhalation toxicity are available on which to base the IDLH, the chosen IDLH is based on chronic toxicity data (i.e., repeated exposure to 100 ppm resulted in a uniformly high mortality rate in six laboratory species [Stokinger et al. 1953 cited by ACGIH 1971]). The only acute inhalation toxicity data available was not used to establish the IDLH because in 5.5 hours 10 of 10 guinea pigs succumbed to an exposure of 750 ppm [Livinskas 1964].

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:

Species Reference LC50(ppm) LCLo(ppm) Time Adjusted 0.5-hr LC (CF) Derived Value
Mouse Farmakol Toksikol 1972 1,227 ----- 2 hr 1,963 ppm (1.6) 196 ppm
G. pig Farmakol Toksikol 1972 39 ----- 4 hr 77 ppm (2.0) 8 ppm
Rat Izmerov et al. 1982 418 ----- 4 hr 837 ppm (2.0) 84 ppm

Other animal data: Exposure to a concentration of 100 ppm resulted in a uniformly high mortality rate in six laboratory species, and 15 ppm was occasionally fatal in 30-day studies [Stokinger et al. 1953]. Rats exposed 6 hours/day to 24 ppm or 2 weeks to 9 ppm showed signs of respiratory irritation, depression of body weight, increased lung weights, and depressed liver weights [Rusch et al. 1986].

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

Revised IDLH: 25 ppm

Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for boron trifluoride is 25 ppm based on subchronic inhalation toxicity data in animals [Rusch et al. 1986].


  1. ACGIH [1971]. Boron trifluoride. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values for substances in workroom air. 3rd ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, pp. 26-27.
  2. Farmakol Toksikol [1972]; 35:369-372 (in Russian).
  3. Izmerov NF, Sanotsky IV, Sidorov KK [1982]. Toxicometric parameters of industrial toxic chemicals under single exposure. Moscow, Russia: Centre of International Projects, GKNT, p. 27.
  4. Livinskas GJ [1964]. In: Adams RM, ed. Boron metallo-boron compounds and boranes, New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc.
  5. Rusch GM, Hoffman GM, McConnell RF, Rinehart WE [1986]. Inhalation toxicity studies with boron trifluoride. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 83:69-78.
  6. Stokinger HE, Spiegl CJ, et al. [1953]. Chapter 28. Special materials. In: Voegtlin C, Hodge HC, eds. Pharmacology and toxicology of uranium compounds, chronic inhalation and other studies. Vol. 4. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., p. 2302.