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

CAS number: 108–95–2

NIOSH REL: 5 ppm (19 mg/m3) TWA,

15.6 ppm (60 mg/m3) 15-minute CEILING [skin]

Current OSHA PEL: 5 ppm (19 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 5 ppm (19 mg/m3) TWA [skin]

Description of substance: Colorless to light-pink, crystalline solid with a sweet, acrid odor.

LEL :. . 1.8% (10% LEL, 1,800 ppm)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 250 ppm

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on an analogy with cresol which has an IDLH of 250 ppm.

Existing short-term exposure guidelines: 1991 American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs):

ERPG-1: 10 ppm (60-minute)

ERPG-2: 50 ppm (60-minute)

ERPG-3: 200 ppm (60-minute)


Lethal concentration data:

Species Reference LC50 (ppm) LCLo (ppm) Time Adjusted 0.5-hrLC (CF) Derived value


Gig Tr Prof Zabol 1955Nagoznyi 1976

Nagoznyi 1976











Lethal dose data:

Species Reference Route LD50 (mg/kg) LDLo (mg/kg) Adjusted LD Derived value




Brown and Lamson 1935Deichmann & Witherup 1944

Flury and Zernik 1935

Flury and Zernik 1935

Korolev et al. 1973













568 ppm752 ppm

895 ppm

143 ppm

483 ppm

57 ppm75 ppm

90 ppm

14 ppm

48 ppm

Other animal data: RD50 (mouse), 166 ppm [DeCeaurriz et al. 1981]. In rats, an exposure of 312 ppm for 1 hour only resulted in lacrimation and eye and nasal irritation; a slight loss of coordination was reported within 4 hours of exposure to 230 ppm [Flickinger 1976].

Human data: It has been stated that the toxicity of phenol is closely related to that of cresol [ACGIH 1991]. It has been reported that 14 to 140 mg/kg is the lethal oral dose [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969; Lefaux 1978]. [Note: An oral dose of 14 to 140 mg/kg is equivalent to a 70-kg worker being exposed to 167 to 1,670 ppm for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.]

Revised IDLH: 250 ppm [Unchanged]Basis for revised IDLH: Based on acute inhalation toxicity data in animals [Flickinger 1976] and an analogy to cresol [ACGIH 1991] which has a revised IDLH of 250 ppm, the original IDLH for phenol of 250 ppm is not being revised at this time.


1. ACGIH [1991]. Cresol, all isomers. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, pp. 340-341.

2. Brown HW, Lamson PD [1935]. Oral toxicity of ortho-n-alkylphenols to white rats. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 32:592-594.

3. DeCeaurriz JC, Micillino JC, Bonnet P, Guenier JP [1981]. Sensory irritation caused by various industrial airborne chemicals. Toxicol Lett 9(2):137-143.

4. Deichmann WB, Gerarde HW [1969]. Phenol (carbolic acid). In: Toxicology of drugs and chemicals. New York, NY: Academic Press, Inc., pp. 463-464.

5. Deichmann WB, Witherup S [1944]. Phenol studies. VI. The acute and comparative toxicity of phenol and o-, m- and p-cresols for experimental animals. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 80:233-240.

6. Flickinger CW [1976]. The benzenediols: catechol, resorcinol and hydroquinone: a review of the industrial toxicology and current industrial exposure limits. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 37:596-606.

7. Flury F, Zernik F [1935]. Zusammenstellung der toxischen und letalen dosen für die gebräuchlichsten gifte und versuchstiere. Abder Hand Biol Arbeitsmethod 4:1319 (in German).

8. Gig Tr Prof Zabol [1955]. On the toxicity and maximum permissible concentration of a complex set of the neoleucorite (phenoformaldhyde) resin volatile products; 19(8):37-40 (in Russian).

9. Korolev AA, Abirdir AA, et al. [1973]. Hygienic and toxicologic features of products of phenol destruction in ozone treatment of water. Gig Sanit 38(8):6-10 (in Russian).

10. Lefaux R [1978]. Practical toxicology of plastics. Cleveland, OH: Chemical Rubber Co., p. 329.

11. Nagoznyi PA [1976]. About the elimination of the problem of combined effect of several toxic materials. Gig Sanit 41(6):103-105 (in Russian).