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: None; Chemical Formula: None

OSHA formerly had no specific limit for rouge but regulated this substance under the Agency’s generic total particulate standard of 15 mg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA. The ACGIH has an 8-hour TWA limit of 10 mg/m3 for rouge as total dust containing less than 1 percent quartz, and this is the limit that was proposed. The final rule establishes 10 mg/m3 as the 8-hour TWA PEL for the total particulate of rouge and retains the 5-mg/m3 8-hour TWA for the respirable fraction of rouge dust. Rouge is a high-grade red pigment, composed mainly of ferric oxide, that is used as a polishing agent for glass, jewelry, etc.

NIOSH (Ex. 8-47, Table N4) believes that exposure to rouge should be reduced to levels below 10 mg/m3 on the basis of evidence showing that exposure to hematite dust (ferric oxide) increased the risk of lung cancer in hematite miners. According to NIOSH, this human evidence is consistent with the results of two recent animal studies: Warshawsky, Bingham, and Niemeier (1984 as cited in Ex. 8-47), which showed that intratracheal administrations of ferric oxide and exposure to benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) “enhances the metabolic activation of BaP”; and Niemeier, Mulligan, and Rowland (1986, as cited in Ex. 8-47), who found that ferric oxide has co-carcinogenic potential. OSHA shares NIOSH’s concern about rouge’s carcinogenicity and intends to monitor toxicological developments closely in the future to determine whether further reduction in the PEL is warranted. No other comments on rouge were received.

In the final rule, OSHA is establishing an 8-hour TWA of 10 mg/m3 for the total particulate of rouge and is retaining 5 mg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA for the respirable fraction. OSHA concludes that these limits will protect workers from the significant health risks associated with workplace exposure to higher levels of rouge. These effects include eye, nose, and upper respiratory irritation and, perhaps, other more serious chronic diseases, all of which constitute material health impairments within the meaning of the Act.

Page last reviewed: September 28, 2011