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 concentrations 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 idiosyncratic responses, could experience the effects described at concentrations below the corresponding AEGL.
Phosphorus trichloride (CAS no. 007719-12-2) is a colorless, clear fuming liquid with a pungent, irritating odor. In the presence of water, the chemical decomposes rapidly in a highly exothermic reaction to phosphonic acid, or hydrogen chloride, and pyrophosphonic acids. The primary use of phosphorus trichloride is for the production of phosphonic acid which, in turn, is used in the production of glyphosphate herbicides. Annual domestic production of 294,000 tons has been reported.
No acute lethality data on humans are available. Qualitative data regarding human exposures indicate signs and symptoms of exposure consistent with a highly irritating chemical; ocular and dermal irritation, respiratory tract irritation, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Lethality data are available for rats, cats, and guinea pigs. Cursory studies conducted nearly 100 years ago in Germany provided preliminary data on lethal and nonlethal effects in cats and guinea pigs following various treatment regimens with inhaled phosphorus trichloride. Although results of the studies indicated the respiratory tract to be a critical target, the methods and results of these studies were not verifiable. Weeks et al. (1964) reported 4-h LC50 values of 104.5 ppm and 50.1 ppm for rats and guinea pigs, respectively. An unpublished study by Hazleton Laboratories (1983) identified a no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of 3.4 ppm and a lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL