OSHA comments from the January 19, 1989 Final Rule on Air Contaminants Project extracted from 54FR2332 et. seq. This rule was remanded by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the limits are not currently in force.

CAS: 115-77-5; Chemical Formula: C(CH2OH)4

OSHA formerly had no separate limit for pentaerythritol, but this substance was regulated at 15 mg/m3 TWA, the Agency’s generic total particulate limit. The ACGIH has a TLV-TWA of 10 mg/m3 for total pentaerythritol dust containing less than 1 percent quartz. The proposed PEL was 10 mg/m3 TWA (total particulate), and this is the limit established in the final rule; the Agency’s 5-mg/m3 respirable particulate TWA limit is being retained. Pentaerythritol is an odorless, white crystalline solid.

Rats exposed to pentaerythritol at 11,000 mg/m3 for six hours were reported to show no ill effects from a single exposure, and rats, dogs, and guinea pigs exposed six hours daily for 90 days also showed no effects (Keplinger and Kay 1964/Ex. 1-743). The oral LD(50)s in guinea pigs and mice were 11.3 and 22.5 g/kg, respectively; rats survived oral doses as high as 16 g/kg. At higher doses, animals displayed diarrhea, tremors, ataxia, and loss of righting reflex (Keplinger and Kay 1964/Ex. 1-743). Daily applications of a saturated aqueous solution of technical pentaerythritol to rabbit skin produced no significant irritation; a single application of 10 g/kg aqueous paste on intact or abraded rabbit skin produced no evidence of percutaneous absorption (Keplinger and Kay 1964/ Ex. 1-743; Hercules, Inc., as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 462). Instillation of a 50-percent aqueous suspension into the conjunctival sac of rabbits’ eyes resulted in slight transient irritation (Hercules, Inc., as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 462).

Human volunteers are reported to have eliminated 85 percent of dietary pentaerythritol unchanged in the urine within 30 hours. A slight and transient increase in apparent blood sugar that was proportional to the ingested dose appeared in these subjects soon after administration (Berlow, Barth, and Snow 1958, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 462). NIOSH (Ex. 8-47, Table N4) has not conducted an extensive review of this substance. No other comments were submitted to the record.

The final rule promulgates an 8-hour PEL of 10 mg/m3 TWA (total particulate) for pentaerythritol, and the 5-mg/m3 respirable fraction PEL is retained. The Agency concludes that these limits will protect employees from the significant risks of physical irritation potentially associated with exposure to pentaerythritol at higher levels. OSHA finds that physical irritation constitutes a material impairment of health within the meaning of the Act.

Page last reviewed: September 28, 2011