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Dimethyl sulfate

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

CAS number: 77–78–1

NIOSH REL: 0.1 ppm (0.5 mg/m3) TWA [skin]; NIOSH considers dimethyl sulfate to be a potential occupational carcinogen as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990].

Current OSHA PEL: 1 ppm (5 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: 0.1 ppm (0.5 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 0.1 ppm (0.52 mg/m3) TWA [skin], A2

Description of Substance: Colorless, oily liquid with a faint, onion-like odor.

LEL:. . Unknown

Original (SCP) IDLH: 10 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the statement by Patty [1963] that a 20-minute exposure to 13 ppm caused severe symptoms in monkeys and a 20-minute exposure to 75 ppm resulted in the LC50 for guinea pigs [Ghiringhelli et al. 1957; Ghiringhelli and Sironi 1958]. No other useful data are available on which to base the IDLH.

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:






Adjusted 0.5-hr






G. pig


G. pig

Batzura et al. 1980

Deichmann and Gerarde 1969

Ghiringhelli et al. 1957

Gig Tr Prof Zabol 1979

Marhold 1986











4 hr

10 min

20 min


1 hr

17 ppm (2.0)

67 ppm (0.69)

65 ppm (0.87)


40 ppm (1.25)

1.7 ppm

6.7 ppm

6.5 ppm


4.0 ppm

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

Revised IDLH: 7 ppm

Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for dimethyl sulfate is 7 ppm based on acute inhalation toxicity data in humans [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969]. [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the "most protective" respirators be worn for dimethyl sulfate at concentrations above 0.1 ppm.]


1. Batzura FD, Kasparov AA, et al. [1980]. Pathogenesis of acute dimethyl sulfate intoxication (experimental study). Gig Tr Prof Zabol 24(11):55-57 (in Russian).

2. Deichmann WB, Gerarde HW [1969]. Dimethylsulfate (DMS). In: Toxicology of drugs and chemicals. New York, NY: Academic Press, Inc., p. 226.

3. Ghiringhelli L, Colombo W, Monteverde A [1957]. Observations on the toxicity of dimethylsulphate in animal experiments. Med Lav 48:634-641 (in Italian).

4. Ghiringhelli L, Sironi G [1958]. Dimethylsulphate and catalysis. Med Lav 49:690-693 (in Italian).

5. Gig Tr Prof Zabol [1979]; 23(3):28-32 (in Russian).

6. Marhold J [1986]. Prehled Prumyslove Toxikologie, Organicke Latky. Prague, Czechoslovakia: Avicenum, p. 1079 (in Czechoslovakian).

7. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 1929.

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