California Permissible Exposure Limits laws & safety compliance analysis

California Permissible Exposure Limits: What you need to know

California has adopted permissible exposure limits (PELs) for chemical contaminants in general industry workplaces that are stricter than federal rules. See Forms in this section for a copy of the California PEL tables.

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Cal/OSHA administers and enforces workplace safety and health requirements in California.

8 CCR 5155

In the 1980s, federal OSHA revised its Z tables of hazardous substances and PELs (see 29 CFR 1910.1000, Z tables) to include additional chemicals found in California standards. In 1989, a federal circuit court struck down the OSHA revisions, and OSHA rescinded the changes after this decision. California, however, retained its own tables and is required by state law to update them every 2 years.

Consequently, California has lower PELs than federal OSHA for some substances (such as acetaldehyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide, ethyl bromide, hydrazine, and toluene) as well as PELs for other chemicals that federal OSHA does not presently regulate (such as gasoline, welding fumes, wood dust, and potassium).


To see Table AC-1 Permissible Exposure Limits for Chemical Contaminants, click

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