Agent Name

Silicon carbide

CAS Number

409-21-2

Formula

C-Si

Major Category

Mineral Dusts

Synonyms

Carbon silicide; Carborundum; Silicon monocarbide; [NIOSH] Crystolon; Carbonite; Electroln; [ACGIH]

Category

Other Mineral Dusts

Description

Yellow to green to bluish-black, iridescent crystals; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used as an abrasive and refractory material; Produced in furnaces containing petroleum coke and crystalline silica at a temperature of >2200 degrees C for 36 hours; [ACGIH]

Comments

Production workers loading and unloading furnaces are exposed to carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, crystalline silica, and fibrous and nonfibrous silicon carbide particles. [Rom, p. 534-5] Workers in production and manufacturing, e.g., abrasive products industry, are exposed to varying quantities of fibers (or "whiskers") that have dimensions similar to amphibole asbestos fibers. Nonfibrous particles have low to very low toxic effects on lung tissue. Silicon carbide fibers, on the other hand, can cause lung fibrosis, lung cancer, and possibly mesothelioma. Silicon carbide fibers should be counted and controlled in the same manner as asbestos fibers. [ACGIH] "Occupational exposures associated with the Acheson process are carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Fibrous silicon carbide is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). Silicon carbide whiskers are probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)." [IARC Vol. 111]

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

Bioaccumulates

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

10 mg/m3(inhalable fraction), 3 mg/m3(respirable fraction)[nonfibrous forms], 0.1 respirable fibers/cc[fibrous forms]

PEL (OSHA)

15 mg/m3(total dust), 5 mg/m3(respirable fraction) [fibrous dust]

Explanatory Notes

mp = 2700 degrees C (sublimes and then decomposes); [ACGIH]

Adverse Effects
Fibrogenic

Yes

ACGIH Carcinogen

Suspected Human

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Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: