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

CAS number: 54–11–5

NIOSH REL: 0.5 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

Current OSHA PEL: 0.5 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 0.5 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

Description of substance: Pale-yellow to dark-brown liquid with a fish-like odor when warm.

LEL: . . . 0.7% (10% LEL, 4,700 mg/m3)

Original (SCP) IDLH: 35 mg/m3

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: No data on acute inhalation toxicity are available on which to base the IDLH for nicotine. The chosen IDLH, therefore, has been estimated from the human oral lethal dose of 60 mg [Lehman 1938 cited by Patty 1963 and ACGIH 1971].

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal dose data:

Species Reference Route LD50(mg/kg) LDLo(mg/kg) Adjusted LD Derived value
Dog Franke & Thomas 1932 oral 9.2 —– 64 mg/m3 6.4 mg/m3
Mouse Lazutka et al. 1969 oral 3.34 —– 23 mg/m3 2.3 mg/m3
Rat Sine 1993 oral 50 —– 350 mg/m3 35 mg/m3

Human data: The fatal human dose has been estimated to be about 50 to 60 mg [Lazutka et al. 1969]. [Note: An oral dose of 50 to 60 mg/kg is equivalent to a 70-kg worker being exposed to about 30 to 40 mg/m3 for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.]

Revised IDLH: 5 mg/m3Basis for revised IDLH: No inhalation toxicity data are available on which to base an IDLH for nicotine. Therefore, the revised IDLH for nicotine is 5 mg/m3 based on acute oral toxicity data in humans [Lazutka et al. 1969] and animals [Franke and Thomas 1932; Lazutka et al. 1969].


1. ACGIH [1971]. Nicotine. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values for substances in workroom air. 3rd ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, p. 181.

2. Franke FE, Thomas JE [1932]. A note on the minimal fatal dose of nicotine for unanesthetized dogs. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 29:1177-1179.

3. Lazutka FA, Vasilyauskene AD, Gefen SG [1969]. Toxicological evaluation of the insecticide nicotine sulfate. Gig Sanit 34(5):30-33 (translated).

4. Lehman AJ [1938]. Pharmacological considerations of insecticides. Q Bulletin Assoc Food Drug Off U.S. 13(2):65-70.

5. Patty FA, ed. [1963]. Industrial hygiene and toxicology. 2nd rev. ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. New York, NY: Interscience Publishers, Inc., p. 2196.

6. Sine C, ed. [1993]. Nicotine. In: Farm chemicals handbook ’93, p. C245.