OSHA formerly had no limit for diethanolamine. The proposed limit was 3 ppm (8-hour TWA), and this is also the limit adopted in the final rule. NIOSH (ExOccupational Safety and Health Administration. 8-47, Table N1) concurred with the selection of this limit. The ACGIH has established an 8-hour TWA limit of 3 ppm for this substance. Diethanolamine exists as a solid or a liquid at room temperature.
The oral LD(50) of diethanolamine for both rats and guinea pigs has been reported to be about 2 g/kg (Dow Chemical Company 1977g, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 197). Acute toxicity studies have shown that direct contact may impair vision and denature the skin if exposure is repeated. Dietary studies in rats showed no ill effects after 90 days of feeding at 20 mg/kg/day (Smyth, Carpenter, and Weil 1951/Ex.1-439). NIOSH (Ex. 8-47, Table N1) was the only commenter on this substance
OSHA is establishing an 8-hour PEL of 3 ppm TWA for diethanolamine. The Agency concludes that this limit will protect workers from the significant risks of eye damage and skin irritation, material health impairments that are associated with exposure to diethanolamine at levels above the new PEL.