Naphthalene - Chemical Profile 1/85
CHEMICAL name: Naphthalene (62)
TRADE name(S): Many product trade names (69)
FORMULATION(S): Flakes, balls, cakes, dusts, pressurized liquid,
pelletized tablets and ready-to-use liquid. May be
formulated with one or more of the following: oil
of lemongrass, dried blood, thiram, nicotine,
thymol, etc. (69).
TYPE: Insecticide - repellent/fumigant
BASIC PRODUCER(S): Several (69)
STATUS: General use
PRINCIPAL USES: Long known but now little used for the control of
clothes moths and carpet beetles. It has been used also as a
greenhouse fumigant and against gladiolus thrips. Formulated with
other ingredients, it has been sold for application to livestock and
poultry as a lice powder (56). It is also used as a fumigant against
soil fungi, but is rapidly decomposed by soil organisms (62).
Its effectiveness as a household fumigant against clothes moths
has been questioned (62).
Pests repelled: Clothing moths, carpet beetles, bats, cats, dogs,
birds, squirrels, rabbits, pocket gophers (69).
II. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
MOLECULAR FORMULA: C10 H8 (62)
MOLECULAR WEIGHT: 129.2 (62)
PHYSICAL STATE: Colorless flaky crystals (pure compound) (62)
ODOR: Odor of mothballs (14)
MELTING POINT: 80 C (pure compound) (62)
BOILING POINT: 218 C (pure compound) (62)
VAPOR PRESSURE: 6.5 Pa at 20 C (pure compound) (62)
SOLUBILITY: 30 mg/l water at room temperature (pure compound)
III. HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
OSHA STANDARD: 10 ppm (50 mg/m3) averaged over an eight-hour work
NIOSH RECOMMENDED LIMIT: NA
ACGIH RECOMMENDED LIMIT: TWA (Time Weighted Average) = 10 ppm, 50
mg/m3; STEL (Short Term Exposure Limit) = 15 ppm,
75 mg/m3 (15c).
A. ACUTE TOXICITY
DERMAL: LD50 = 2,500 mg/kg (69).
Napthalene on the skin may cause hypersensitivity
dermatitis; chronic dermatitis is rare (14).
ORAL: LD50 = 2,200 mg/kg (rat) (62).
INHALATION: Inhalation may cause abdominal cramps, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, headache, tiredness, confusion, painful urination,
and bloody or dark urine (14).
EYES: The vapor causes eye irritation at 15 ppm; eye contact
with the solid may result in conjunctivitis, superficial injury to the
cornea, chorioretinitis, scotoma, and diminished visual acuity (14).
B. SUBACUTE AND CHRONIC TOXICITY:
Cataracts and ocular irritation have been reproduced
experimentally in animals and have been described in humans; of 21
workers exposed to high concentrations of fume or vapor for 5 years, 8
had peripheral lens opacities; in other studies no abnormalities of the
eyes have been detected in workers exposed to naphthalene for several
Repeated skin exposure to naphthalene may cause an allergic rash.
Repeated exposure may cause cataracts (14).
IV. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS
To be developed.
V. EMERGENCY AND FIRST AID PROCEDURES
The chemical information provided below has been condensed from
original source documents, primarily from "Recognition and Management
of Pesticide Poisonings", 3rd ed. by Donald P. Morgan, which have been
footnoted. This information has been provided in this form for your
convenience and general guidance only. In specific cases, further
consultation and reference may be required and is recommended. This
information is not intended as a substitute for a more exhaustive
review of the literature nor for the judgement of a physician or other
If poisoning is suspected, do not wait for symptoms to develop.
Contact a physician, the nearest hospital, or the nearest Poison
SYMPTOMS: Inhalation or ingestion of naphthalene may cause
abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, tiredness,
confusion, painful urination, and bloody or dark urine. Swallowing
large amounts may cause convulsions or coma. Inhalation, ingestion,
and possibly skin absorption of naphthalene may cause destruction of
red blood cells with anemia, fever, yellow jaundice, bloody urine,
kidney and liver damage. Naphthalene, on contact with the eyes, has
produced irritation. Naphthalene, on contact with the skin, has
produced skin irritation (14).
SKIN CONTACT: If molten naphthalene gets on the skin, immediately
flush the skin with large amounts of water. Get medical attention
immediately. If naphthalene or liquids containing naphthalene get on
the skin, promptly wash the contaminsted skin using soap or mild
detergent and water. If naphthalene or liquids containing naphthalene
penetrate through the clothing, remove the clothing immediately and
wash the skin using soap or mild detergent and water. If irritation
persists after washing, get medical attention (14).
INGESTION: When naphthalene has been swallowed and the person is
conscious, give the person large quantities of water imemdiately.
After the water has been swallowed, try to get the person to vomit by
having him touch the back of his throat with his finger. Do not make
an unconscious person vomit. Get medical attention immediately (14).
INHALATION: If a person breathes in large amounts of naphthalene,
move the exposed person to fresh air at once (14).
EYE CONTACT: If naphthalene or liquids containing naphthalene
get into the eyes, wash eyes immediately with large amounts of water,
lifting the lower and upper lids occasionally. If irritation is
present after washing, get medical attention. Contact lenses should
not be worn when working with this chemical (14).
VI. FIRE AND EXPLOSION INFORMATION
GENERAL: It is flammable, flash point 79 C (open cup), 88 C (closed
cup) but otherwise stable (62). Toxic gases and vapors (such as dense
acrid smoke and carbon monoxide) may be released in a fire involving
EXTINGUISHER TYPE: Carbon dioxide, dry chemical, foam (14).
Contact with strong oxidizers may cause fires and explosions.
Melted naphthalene will attack some forms of plastics, rubber, and
VIII. PROTECTIVE MEASURES
STORAGE AND HANDLING: Avoid prolonged breathing of vapors. Avoid
contaminating feed and foods (69).
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Employees should be provided with and required to
use impervious clothing, gloves, face shields (eight-inch minimum), and
other appropriate protective clothing necessary to prevent repeated or
prolonged skin contact with naphthalene or liquids containing
naphthalene. Employees should be provided with and required to use
dust- and splash-proof safety goggles where solid naphthalene or
liquids containing naphthalene may contact the eyes (14).
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION FOR NAPHTHALENE
Minimum Respiratory Protection*
Condition Required Above 10 ppm
Particulate and Vapor
500 ppm or less A chemical cartridge respirator with a full
facepiece, organic vapor cartridge(s), and
A gas mask with a chin-style or a front- or
back-mounted organic vapor canister and dust
Any supplied-air respirator with a full
facepiece, helmet, or hood.
Any self-contained breathing apparatus with a
Greater than 500 ppm or Self-contained breathing apparatus with a full
entry and escape from facepiece operated in pressure-demand or other
unknown concentrations positive pressure mode.
A combination respirator which includes a Type
C supplied-air respirator with a full
facepiece operated in pressure-demand or other
positive pressure or continuous-flow mode and
an auxiliary self-contained breathing
apparatus operated in pressure-demand or other
positive pressure mode.
Fire Fighting Self-contained breathing apparatus with a full
facepiece operated in pressure-demand or other
positive pressure mode.
Escape Any gas mask providing protection against
organic vapors and particulates.
Any escape self-contained breathing apparatus.
* Only NIOSH-approved or MSHA-approved equipment should be used (14).
IX. PROCEDURES FOR SPILLS AND LEAKS
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CALL, DAY OR NIGHT
PESTICIDE TEAM SAFETY NETWORK/CHEMTREC
Persons not wearing protective equipment and clothing should be
restricted from areas of spills until cleanup has been completed.
If naphthalene is spilled, the following steps should be taken:
1. Ventilate area of spill.
2. For small quantities, sweep onto paper or other suitable material,
place in an appropriate container and burn in a safe place (such as
a fume hood). Large quantities may be reclaimed; however, if this
is not practical, dissolve in a flammable solvent (such as alcohol)
and atomize in a suitable combustion chamber.
Waste disposal methods:
Naphthalene may be disposed of:
1. By making packages of naphthalene in paper or other flammable
material and burning in a suitable combustion chamber.
2. By dissolving napthalene in a flammable solvent (such as alcohol)
and atomizing in a suitable combustion chamber (14).
X. LITERATURE CITED
14. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute
for Occuptational Safety and Health. 1981. Occupational
health guidelines for chemical hazards. F. W. Mackinson, R.
S. Stricoff, L. J. Partridge, Jr., and A. D. Little, Inc.,
eds. DHHS (NIOSH) Publ. No. 81-123. Washington, DC.
15c. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. 1984.
TLVs: threshold limit values for chemical substances and
physical agents in the work environment and biological exposure
indices with intended changes for 1984-85. Cincinnati, OH.
56. Farm Chemicals Handbook, 70th ed. 1984. R. T. Meister, G. L.
Berg, C. Sine, S. Meister, and J. Poplyk, eds. Meister
Publishing Co., Willoughby, OH.
62. The Pesticide Manual: A World Compendium, 7th ed. 1983. C.R.
Worthing, ed. The British Crop Protection Council, Croydon,
England. 695 pp.
69. Harding, W. C. 1981-1982. Pesticide profiles, part three:
fumigants, repellents, and rodenticides. Univ. Maryland,
Coop. Ext. Service Bull. 288, 25 pp.