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sec-Butyl alcohol

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

CAS number: 78–92–2

NIOSH REL: 100 ppm (305 mg/m3) TWA, 150 ppm (455 mg/m3) STEL

Current OSHA PEL: 150 ppm (450 mg/m3) TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: 100 ppm (305 mg/m3) TWA

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 100 ppm (303 mg/m3) TWA

Description of Substance: Colorless liquid with a strong, pleasant odor.

LEL(@212 F): 1.7% (10% LEL(@212 F), 1,700 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 10,000 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the statements by Patty [1963] that 10,670 ppm for 225 minutes and 16,000 ppm for 160 minutes were fatal for mice [Weese 1928]. According to Patty [1963], at 20,000 ppm it took 12 to 20 minutes to produce prostration in mice and 40 minutes to produce narcosis; no deaths occurred [Starrek 1938]. The chosen IDLH is probably conservative.

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:






Adjusted 0.5-hr







Shell 1985

Weese 1928

Weese 1928







4 hr

3.75 hr

2.67 hr

32,000 ppm (2.0)

20,913 ppm (1.96)

28,000 ppm (1.75)

3,200 ppm

2,091 ppm

2,800 ppm

Other animal data: The limited acute toxicity data indicate that sec-butyl alcohol is less toxic than n-butyl alcohol [ACGIH 1991].

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

Revised IDLH: 2,000 ppm

Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for sec-butyl alcohol is 2,000 ppm based on acute inhalation toxicity data in animals [Weese 1928]. This value also approximates 10% of the lower explosive limit (LEL) of 1.7% (which was determined at 212 F) and the revised IDLH for n-butyl alcohol. This may be a conservative value due to the lack of relevant acute toxicity data for workers.


1. ACGIH [1991]. sec-Butyl alcohol. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, pp. 172-173.

2. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 1447.

3. Shell [1985]. Material safety data sheet S280-4: secondary butyl alcohol. Houston, TX: Shell Chemical Company, pp. 1-4.

4. Starrek E [1938]. The effect of some alcohols, glycols, and esters. Doctoral dissertation (translated). Wurzburg, Germany: Julius Maximillian University.

5. Weese H [1928]. Comparative studies of the effect and toxicity of the vapors of lower aliphatic alcohols. Arch Exp Pathol Pharmakol 135:118-130 (translated).