Agent Name

Toluene

Alternative Name

Toluol

CAS Number

108-88-3

Formula

C7-H8

Major Category

Solvents

Synonyms

Methyl benzene; Methyl benzol; Phenyl methane; Toluol; [NIOSH] UN1294

Category

Aromatic Solvents

Description

Colorless liquid with a sweet, pungent, benzene-like odor; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Derived from petroleum, toluene is used as a solvent and chemical intermediate. Purified toluene contains about 0.01% benzene, but crude toluene may contain as much as 25% benzene. Rotogravure printers were exposed to high concentrations of toluene (decreasing from about 1710 ppm in 1969 to about 43-157 ppm in 1980). [ACGIH] Used in photography (color retouching); [www.ci.tucson.az.us/arthazards/medium.html]

Comments

Chronic abuse from glue sniffing causes permanent cerebral and cerebellar dysfunction. Liver injury has been reported in glue sniffers. [ATSDR Case Studies: Toluene Toxicity] Toluene abuse may induce acute renal failure with rhabdomyolysis documented as the precipitating event in some cases. [Rosenstock, p. 577] Birth defects similar to the fetal alcohol syndrome occur when mothers abuse toluene during pregnancy. A study of women occupationally exposed to toluene showed an increased incidence of spontaneous abortions. [Frazier, p. 184-5] No reproductive toxicity is observed in rats exposed to 500 ppm for 80 days. [ACGIH] "The probability of cognitive deficits due to toluene exposure below a TLV of 50 ppm remains extremely low." [PMID 14598174]

Reference Link

ATSDR Medical Management - Toluene

Exposure Assessment
BEI

o-Cresol in urine = 0.3 mg/L (end of shift); Toluene in blood = 0.02 mg/L (prior to last shift of workweek); Toluene in urine = 0.03 mg/L (end of shift); [ACGIH]

Skin Designation (ACGIH)

No

PEL (OSHA)

200 mg/m3, Ceiling(OSHA) = 300 ppm(500 ppm for 10-min peak per 8-hr shift)

MAK

50 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Human data: It has been reported that extreme fatigue, mental confusion, exhilaration, nausea, headache and dizziness resulted from exposures to 600 ppm by the end of 3 hours [von Oettingen et al. 1942]. In addition, the following observations have been made: Some workers will tolerate concentrations ranging up to 200 ppm for 6 to 8 hours daily with no demonstrable ill effects; 200 to 500 ppm for 6 to 8 hours will cause tiredness and lassitude in most workers; and concentrations over 500 ppm for 1 to 3 hours are definitely dangerous and will cause symptoms attributable to depression of the central nervous system and the bone marrow [Wilson 1943]. It has also been reported that exposure to concentrations greater than 4,000 ppm for more than 5 minutes might limit self rescue ability [ANSI 1973]. After 20 minutes, exposures to concentrations at 300, 500, or 700 ppm resulted in significant increases in reaction times; a significant decrease in perceptual speed resulted after a 20­minute exposure to 700 ppm [Gamberale and Hultengren 1972].

Vapor Pressure

28.4 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

0.16 ppm

Odor Threshold High

37 ppm

RD50

5300 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 8000 ppm/4H

Explanatory Notes

Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 1.6 ppm); Flash point = 4.4 deg C; [ACGIH]

Half Life

Blood: 0.5 hours (can range up to 90 hours depending upon fat deposition); for hippuric acid in urine: 1.5 hours; [TDR, p. 1145]

Reference Link

ATSDR - ToxFAQs - Toluene

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Nephrotoxin

Yes

Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Neurotoxin

CNS Solvent Syndrome

Hepatotoxin

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
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:

Activities

Activities with risk of exposure: