Soapstone

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

CAS number: none assigned

NIOSH REL: 6 mg/m3 (total dust) TWA, 3 mg/m3 (respirable) TWA

Current OSHA PEL: 20 mppcf TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: 6 mg/m3 (total dust) TWA, 3 mg/m3 (respirable dust) TWA

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 6 mg/m3 (total dust) TWA, 3 mg/m3 (respirable dust) TWA

Description of substance: Odorless, white-gray powder.

LEL: . . Noncombustible Solid

Original (SCP) IDLH*: No Evidence [*Note: “Effective” IDLH = 10,000 mppcf — see discussion below.]

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The available toxicological data contain no evidence that an acute exposure to a high concentration of soapstone would impede escape or cause any irreversible health effects within 30 minutes. The toxic effects of talc that are described in the literature result from chronic exposures to this substance. Talc is a major constituent of soapstone [Miller and Sayers 1941 as cited by ACGIH 1971]. 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 (500 ´ 20 mppcf is 10,000 mppcf).

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed

ACUTE TOXICITY DATA:

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

REFERENCES:

1. ACGIH [1971]. Soapstone. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values for substances in workroom air. 3rd ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, p. 232.

2. Miller JW, Sayers RR [1941]. The response of peritoneal tissue to industrial dusts. Public Health Rep 56(1):264-272.

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2014