Cotton dust (raw)

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

CAS number: none

NIOSH REL: <0.200 mg/m3 TWA

Current OSHA PEL: 1 mg/m3 TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993­1994 ACGIH TLV: 0.2 mg/m3 TWA

Description of Substance: Colorless, odorless solid.

Original (SCP) IDLH*: No Evidence [*Note: “Effective” IDLH = 500 mg/m3 — see discussion below.]

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The available toxicological data do not indicate that an acute exposure to a high concentration of cotton dust would cause death or any irreversible health effects within 30 minutes. For this draft technical standard, therefore, respirators have been selected on the basis of the assigned protection factor afforded by each device. However, for some particulate substances for which no evidence of an IDLH exists, the determination of allowable respiratory protection based on protection factors may result in the assignment of respirators for concentrations that are not likely to be encountered in the occupational environment. Therefore, for all such particulate substances, it has been arbitrarily determined that only the “most protective” respirators are permitted for use in concentrations exceeding 500 × the OSHA PEL; in the case of cotton dust (raw), 500 × the OSHA PEL of 1 mg/m3 is 500 mg/m3.

Short­term exposure guidelines: None developed

Animal or human data: None relevant for use in determining the revised IDLH.

Revised IDLH: 100 mg/m3

Basis for revised IDLH: The available toxicological data contain no evidence that an acute exposure to a high concentration of cotton dust (raw) would impede escape or cause any irreversible health effects within 30 minutes. However, the revised IDLH for cotton dust (raw) is 100 mg/m3 based on being 500 times the NIOSH REL of 0.2 mg/m3 (500 is an assigned protection factor for respirators and was used arbitrarily during the Standards Completion Program for deciding when the "most protective" respirators should be used for particulates). [Note: The 1 mg/m3 OSHA PEL for cotton dust applies to the cotton waste processing operations of waste recycling (sorting, blending, cleaning, and willowing) and garnetting. In other sectors involving cotton, OSHA currently requires in 29 CFR 1919.1043 that workers be provided with and required to wear and use a powered, air­purifying respirator equipped with high­efficiency particulate filters in concentrations exceeding 100 × the applicable OSHA PEL of either 0.2, 0.5, or 0.75 mg/m3.]


CDC home page.External

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2014