Agent Name

Xylene isomers

Alternative Name


CAS Number

1330-20-7; 95-47-6; 108-38-3; 106-42-3



Major Category



Benzene, dimethyl-; Dimethylbenzene; Ksylen [Polish]; Methyl toluene; Methyltoluene; Violet 3; Xiloli [Italian]; Xylenen [Dutch]; Xylenes; Xylol; Xylole [German]; [ChemIDplus]; includes m-xylene (108-38-3), o-xylene (95-47-6), p-xylene (106-42-3); UN1307


Aromatic Solvents


Colorless liquid with an aromatic odor; [NIOSH]


Used as a solvent in paints, coatings, and rubber cement; used as a chemical intermediate; [ACGIH] Used in photography (color retouching); [] In semiconductor manufacturing, xylene is used to "develop" the pattern in the photoresists; [CHS, p. 44]


Temporary memory loss, confusion, and laboratory evidence of liver injury have been reported in workers overexposed to xylene. [ACGIH] There is limited evidence that xylene can increase spontaneous abortions in exposed workers and birth defects in experimental animals. [ATSDR Case Studies #29] Xylene is in the list of "Some volatile substances which may be abused by inhalation" published on the web site of the U.N. International Drug Control Programme, indicating its potential to cause narcosis in workers. [Flanagan et al. Volatile Substance Abuse] A skin and eye irritant; Inhalation of high concentrations may cause CNS effects; [ICSC] Causes contact urticaria; [Kanerva, p. 219]

Reference Link

ATSDR Medical Management - Xylene

Exposure Assessment

Methylhippuric acids in urine = 1.5 g/g creatinine; end of shift; This BEI is for technical or commercial grades of xylenes;

Skin Designation (ACGIH)



100 ppm


150 ppm


100 ppm


100 ppm


900 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

It has been reported that 1,000 ppm for 5 minutes or less will probably allow self­rescue with no irreversible injury [ANSI 1971]. Volunteers found 200 ppm to be definitely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat [Nelson et al. 1943]. Reaction time was not affected in 23 volunteers exposed to 100 or 200 ppm for 3 to 7 hours [Ogata et al. 1970]. No noticeable changes in reaction time or short­term memory tests were seen in 15 volunteers exposed to 100 or 300 ppm for 70 minutes [Gamberale et al. 1978].

Vapor Pressure

6.5 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

0.08 ppm

Odor Threshold High

40 ppm


1467 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 5,000 ppm/4H

Explanatory Notes

Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 20 ppm); VP = approximately 6-6.5 mm Hg at 20 deg C; [CHEMINFO] The exposure limits apply to all isomers.

Half Life

Whole body: 20-30 hours (longer if significant fat deposition); [TDR, p. 1236]

Reference Link

ATSDR - ToxFAQs - Xylene

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Reproductive Toxin



CNS Solvent Syndrome


Hepatotoxin, Secondary

IARC Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:


Activities with risk of exposure: