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Air Contaminants - Exposure Limits

Exposure limits for various air contaminants.

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Limits for various air contaminants:

PollutantPermissible Exposure Limit
Acetaldehyde 200 ppm
Acetic Acid 10 ppm
Acetone 1000 ppm
Ammonia 50 ppm
Asbestos 2) 0.1 fiber/cubic centimeter
Benzene 2) 1 ppm
Bromine 0.1 ppm
Cadmium 3) 5 μg/m3
Carbon dioxide 5000 ppm (1000 ppm 8 hrs ASHRAE)
Carbon disulfide 200 ppm
Carbon monoxide 50 ppm (9 ppm 8 hrs, 35 ppm 1 hr ASHRAE)
Carbon tetrachloride 3) 10 ppm
Chlorine 1 ppm 4)
Chloroform 50 ppm 4)
Cresol 5 ppm
Ethanol (Ethyl alcohol) 1000 ppm
Ethyl chloride 1000 ppm
Fluorine 0.1 ppm
Formaldehyde 3) 0.75 ppm
Gasoline 300 ppm
Hydrogen cyanide 10 ppm
Iodine 0.1 ppm 4)
Iron oxide (fume) 10 mg/m3
Isopropyl alcohol 400 ppm
Lead 50 μg/m3
Manganese compounds 5 mg/m3
Mercury 1 mg/10 m3 4)
Methanol (Methyl alcohol) 200 ppm
Nitric oxide 25 ppm
Nitrogen dioxide 5 ppm 4) (0.05 ppm 1 year ASHRAE)
Ozone 0.05 ppm (0.12 ppm 1 hr ASHRAE)
Particles 50 μg/m3 1 year, 150 μg/m3 24 hrs ASHRAE
Propane 5) 1000 ppm
Selenium compounds 0.2 mg/m3
Sulfur dioxide 5 ppm (0.03 ppm 1 year, 0.14 ppm 24 hrs ASHRAE)
Sulfur acid 1 mg/m3
Tellurium compounds 0.1 mg/m3
Tetraethyl lead 0.075 mg/m3
Toluene 200 ppm
Turpentine 100 ppm
Vinyl chloride 2) 1 ppm
Zinc oxide, fume 5 mg/m3
Zinc oxide, dust 15 mg/m3

1) PEL -Permissible Exposure Limit - 8-hour time weighted averages - An employee's exposure to any substance listed, in any 8-hour work shift of a 40-hour work week, shall not exceed the 8-hour time weighted average limit given for that substance - OSHA, Occupational Safety & Health Administration

2) Human carcinogen - confirmed

3) Human carcinogen - suspected

4) Acceptable ceiling concentration

5) Simple asphyxiant


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  • Engineering ToolBox, (2009). Air Contaminants - Exposure Limits. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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