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May 1994

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


CAS number: 7784-42-1

NIOSH REL: 0.002 mg/m3 15-minute CEILING; NIOSH considers arsine to be a potential occupational carcinogen as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990].

Current OSHA PEL: 0.05 ppm (0.2 mg/m3) TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 0.05 ppm (0.16 mg/m3) TWA

Description of substance: Colorless gas with a mild, garlic-like odor.

LEL: 5.1% (10% LEL, 5,100 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 6 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the statement by Patty [1963] that 6 to 30 ppm is the maximum concentration that can be inhaled in 1 hour without serious consequences [Henderson and Haggard 1943]. The chosen IDLH falls within the range of 1 to 10 ppm, which AIHA [1965] suggested might be dangerous for a 1-hour exposure [Elkins 1959; Kipling and Fothergill 1964].

Existing short-term exposure: National Research Council [NRC 1984] guidelines Emergency Exposure Guidance Levels (EEGLs):

  • 1-hour EEGL: 1.0 ppm
  • 24-hour EEGL: 0.1 ppm


Lethal concentration data:

SpeciesReferenceLC50(ppm)LCLo(ppm)TimeAdjusted 0.5-hr LC(CF)Derived Value
RatGates et al. 1946120-----10 min83 ppm (0.69)8.3 ppm
MouseGates et al. 194677-----10 min53 ppm (0.69)5.3 ppm
RabbitGates et al. 1946201-----10 min138 ppm (0.69)14 ppm
DogGates et al. 1946108-----10 min 75 ppm (0.69)7.5 ppm
HumanHenderson and Haggard 1943-----25030 min250 ppm (1.0)25ppm
HumanTab Biol Per 1933-----3005 min165 ppm (0.55)17 ppm
HumanTeitelbaum and Kier 1969-----2530 min 25 ppm (1.0) 2.5 ppm

Other animal data: RD50 (mouse), 13 ppm [Peterson and Bhattacharyya 1985].

Other human data: It has been reported that poisoning symptoms occur after a few hours exposure to 3 to 10 ppm [Henderson and Haggard 1943]. It has been suggested that 1 to 10 ppm might be dangerous for a 1 hour exposure [AIHA 1965] and that 6 to 30 ppm is the maximum concentration that can be inhaled in 1 hour without serious consequences [Henderson and Haggard 1943]. It has been estimated that 1,543 ppm for 2 minutes and 62 ppm for 30 minutes are minimal disabling exposures [Gates et al. 1946].


Revised IDLH: 3 ppm
Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for arsine is 3 ppm based on acute inhalation toxicity data in humans [AIHA 1965; Henderson and Haggard 1943; Teitelbaum and Kier 1969]. [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the "most protective" respirators be worn for arsine at concentrations above 0.002 mg As/m3.]


  1. AIHA [1965]. Arsine. In: Hygienic guide series. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 26:438-441.
  2. Elkins HB [1959]. Arsenic, As. In: The chemistry of industrial toxicology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 62-65.
  3. Gates M, Williams J, Zapp JA [1946]. Arsenicals. In: Summary technical report of Division 9, NRDC. Vol. 1. Chemical warfare agents, and related chemical problems. Part 1. Washington, DC: Office of Scientific Research and Development, National Defense Research Committee, pp. 83-114.
  4. Henderson Y, Haggard HW [1943]. Noxious gases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, p. 242.
  5. Kipling MD, Fothergill R [1964]. Arsine poisoning in a slag-washing plant. Br J Ind Med 21:74-77.
  6. NRC [1984]. Emergency and continuous exposure limits for selected airborne contaminants. Vol. 1. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, Committee on Toxicology, Board on Toxicology and Environmental Health Hazards, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, pp. 35-40.
  7. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 880.
  8. Peterson DP, Bhattacharyya MH [1985]. Hematological responses to arsine exposure: quantitation of exposure response in mice. Fundam Appl Toxicol 5:499-505.
  9. Tab Biol Per [1933]; 3:231 (in German).
  10. Teitelbaum DT, Kier LC [1969]. Arsine poisoning: report of five cases in the petroleum industry and a discussion of the indications for exchange transfusion and hemodialysis. Arch Environ Health 19:133-143.
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