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Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL)

Last updated: September 3, 2019

What Does Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) Mean?

Short term exposure limit (STEL) represents the exposure limit that is acceptable for a short time-period, typically about 15 minutes. This limit represents the maximum concentration level for a chemical that workers may be exposed to over the time-period without incurring health, safety or work-efficacy risks. Short term exposure value (STEV) is a synonym for STEL. On product safety data-sheets, STEL is indicated by the letters ‘ST’ followed by the value.

Safeopedia Explains Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL)

OSHA has set STEL limits for a number of chemicals including ethylene oxide, 1,3-Butadiene and benzene. The short term exposure limit is expressed in parts per million (ppm) or as milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). The information is found on the chemical’s safety data sheet, which will also specify the appropriate PPE to be used to minimize exposure. Work practices that limit the production of vapors or dusts should be applied when using chemicals with a specified STEL. It is essential to keep up to date with developments in STEL regulations, and which chemicals they apply to, since research in this field is ongoing.


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