Agent Name

Cotton dust, raw

Major Category

Biological Agents

Synonyms

Cotton; Flax; Soft hemp; Kapok

Category

Plant & Animal Dusts/Aerosols

Sources/Uses

Highest exposures from opening, picking, carding, and blowing fibers; Lower risk for spinning, winding, and twisting; weavers have the lowest risk; Byssinosis is also seen in other industries (cottonseed oil extraction, cotton waste utilization and mattress/bedding) and in workers exposed to soft hemp, flax, and sisal dusts. [Levy, p. 416]

Comments

Raw, unprocessed cotton dust causes byssinosis. After a heavy exposure, cotton, flax, hemp, and kapok dusts can also cause "mill fever." [Rom, p. 410]

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

TLV (ACGIH)

0.1 mg/m3, thoracic fraction

PEL (OSHA)

1 mg/m3, resp. dust, measured by vertical elutriator

MAK

1.5 mg/m3, inhalable fraction

IDLH (NIOSH)

100 mg/m3

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Note: The 1 mg/m3 OSHA PEL for cotton dust applies to the cotton waste processing operations of waste recycling (sorting, blending, cleaning, and willowing) and garnetting. In other sectors involving cotton, OSHA currently requires in 29 CFR 1919.1043 that workers be provided with and required to wear and use a powered, airpurifying respirator equipped with highefficiency particulate filters in concentrations exceeding 100 the applicable OSHA PEL of either 0.2, 0.5, or 0.75 mg/m3.

Half Life

Accumulates in the lungs; [TDR, p. 401]

Adverse Effects
Chronic Bronchitis

Yes

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Toxicity Information

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Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:

Activities

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