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-hr


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




Adjusted LD Derived value





Akatsuka 1973

Magistretti et al. 1963

Schepers 1964

Schroeder et al. 1972

Springman et al. 1963
















135 mg Pb/m3

157 mg Pb/m3

76 mg Pb/m3

55 mg Pb/m3

108 mg Pb/m3

14 mg Pb/m3

16 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.

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2014