NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Lessons learned from the EPA/OSHA chemical advisory: "skin exposure to molten 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP) can cause rapid death."

Gillen M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :30
EPA and OSHA, with assistance from NIOSH, issued a Chemical Advisory on February 15, 2000, to raise awareness that the molten form of 2,4- Dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP) could cause worker fatalities after minimal skin exposure. The need for the advisory was initially triggered by notification of a worker fatality under Section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The substance had limited toxicological information and no occupational exposure limits. A total of five fatalities over an 18-year period were eventually identified and linked to skin exposure accidents with 2,4-DCP. The purpose of this presentation is to describe: 1) how the fatalities were identified; 2) the process that led to agency collaboration on the chemical advisory; 3) obstacles to sharing of information about the hazard and precautions and their impact on the process; 4) the utility of facility-specific targeting based on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI); and 5) substances deserving additional scrutiny based on similarity to 2,4- DCP. The experience with 2,4-DCP points out a number of important issues relevant to the practice of industrial hygiene, especially in regard to substances without occupational exposure limits. Available toxicity data did not allow easy identification of the potential hazard, and existing reporting systems did not elevate early fatalities. There is a critical need to create safety and health infrastructure for protection against dermal exposures and for effective response once skin is contaminated. Creation of a list of substances that can cause death via dermal absorption is also suggested to guard against future tragedies similar to the 2,4-DCP case.
Chemical-structure; Hazardous-materials; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Toxic-effects; Toxins; Toxic-dose; Skin-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Mortality-rates; Accidents; Industrial-hazards; Industrial-hygiene; Exposure-limits
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division