Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Tetraethyl lead (as Pb)

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

CAS number: 78–00–2

NIOSH REL: 0.075 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

Current OSHA PEL: 0.075 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 0.1 mg/m3 TWA [skin]

Description of substance: Colorless liquid (unless dyed red, orange, or blue) with a pleasant, sweet odor.

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

Original (SCP) IDLH: 40 mg Pb/m3

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the rat LC50 of 6 ppm (approximately 80 mg/m3) [Saglik Dergisi 1963 cited by NIOSH 1974]. However, because of the unreliability of tetraethyl lead analytical methods utilized prior to 1968, 40 mg Pb/m3, which is approximately 50% of the LC50, has been utilized as the IDLH.

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:

Species Reference LC50 LCLo Time Adjusted 0.5-hrLC (CF) Derived value
Mouse Akatsuka 1973 —– 650 mg/m3 7 hr 999 mg Pb/m3 (2.4) 100 mg Pb/m3
Rat Cremer & Calloway 1961 850 mg/m3 —– 1 hr 680 mg Pb/m3 (1.25) 68 mg Pb/m3

Lethal dose data:

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




Akatsuka 1973Magistretti et al. 1963

Schepers 1964

Schroeder et al. 1972

Springman et al. 1963













135 mg Pb/m3157 mg Pb/m3

76 mg Pb/m3

55 mg Pb/m3

108 mg Pb/m3

14 mg Pb/m316 mg Pb/m3

7.6 mg Pb/m3

5.5 mg Pb/m3

11 mg Pb/m3

Human data: It has been stated that 100 mg Pb/m3 for 1 hour may produce illness [Fleming 1963].

Revised IDLH: 40 mg Pb/m3 [Unchanged]Basis for revised IDLH: Based on acute inhalation toxicity data in humans [Fleming 1963] and animals [Akatsuka 1973; Cremer and Calloway 1961], a value of about 100 mg Pb/m3 would have been appropriate for tetraethyl lead. However, the original IDLH for tetraethyl lead (40 mg Pb/m3) is not being revised at this time.


1. Akatsuka K [1973]. Tetraalkyl lead poisoning. Sangyo Igaku (Japanese Journal of Industrial Health) 15:3-66.

2. Cremer JE, Calloway S [1961]. Further studies on the toxicity of some tetra and trialkyl lead compounds. Brit J Ind Med 18:277-282.

3. Fleming AJ [1963]. Lead Symposium, Kettering Laboratory, University of Cincinnati, February 25-27, 1963.

4. Magistretti M, Zurlo N, Scollo F, Pacillo D [1963]. Tossicita comparata del piombo tetra-etile e del piombo tetra-metile. Med Lav 54:486-495 (in Italian).

5. NIOSH [1974]. TP45500. Plumbane, tetraethyl-. In: The toxic substances list, 1974 ed. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 74-134, p. 634.

6. Saglik Dergisi [1963]; 38:653.

7. Schepers GWH [1964]. Tetraethyl lead and tetramethyl lead comparative experimental pathology: Part I. Lead absorption and pathology. Arch Environ Health 8:277-295.

8. Schroeder T, Avery DD, Cross HA [1972]. Tetraethyl lead dose response curve for mortality in laboratory rats. Experientia 28:923-924.

9. Springman E, Bingham E, Stemmer KL [1963]. The acute effects of lead alkyls. Arch Environ Health 6:469.