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

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.
Page last reviewed: December 4, 2014