AEGL-1 is the airborne concentration [expressed as parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3)] of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience notable discomfort, irritation, or certain asymptomatic nonsensory effects. However, the effects are not disabling and are transient and reversible upon cessation of exposure.
AEGL-2 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience irreversible or other serious, long-lasting adverse health effects or an impaired ability to escape.
AEGL-3 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience life-threatening health effects or death.
Airborne concentrations below the AEGL-1 represent exposure levels that could produce mild and progressively increasing but transient and nondisabling odor, taste, and sensory irritation or certain asymptomatic nonsensory effects. With increasing airborne concentrations above each AEGL, there is a progressive increase in the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of effects described for each corresponding AEGL. Although the AEGL values represent threshold levels for the general public, including susceptible subpopulations, such as infants, children, the elderly, persons with asthma, and those with other illnesses, it is recognized that individuals, subject to unique or idiosyncratic responses, could experience the effects described at concentrations below the corresponding AEGL.
Phosphine is a colorless gas used as a fumigant against insects and rodents in stored grain. The pesticide is usually applied as a metal phosphide and reacts with moisture to liberate phosphine gas. Phosphine is also used in the semiconductor industry. Information concerning human exposure to phosphine is of limited use in the derivation of AEGL values since exposure durations and concentrations are not precisely reported. Appropriate animal data are more abundant; however, data consistent with the definition of AEGL-1 values are not available. Therefore, due to insufficient data, AEGL-1 values were not derived.
The AEGL-2 was based on red mucoid nasal discharge in Fischer 344 rats exposed to 10 ppm phosphine for 6 h (Newton et al. 1993). An uncertainty factor (UF) of 3 was applied to account for interspecies variability since time-to-death lethality data from 45 min to 30 h for rats, mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs suggest little species variability (see Figure 10-2). A UF of 10 was applied to account for intraspecies variability since the human data suggest that children may be more sensitive than adults when exposed to presumably similar phosphine concentrations (total UF = 30). The concentration-exposure time rela-