Agent Name


Alternative Name


CAS Number




Major Category



Hexyl hydride; normal-Hexane; Hexane; [NIOSH] Hexanes; Dipropyl; Esani [Italian]; Gettysolve-B; Heksan [Polish]; Hexanen [Dutch]; Skellysolve B; [ChemIDplus] UN1208


Aliphatics, Saturated (<C12)


Colorless liquid with a gasoline-like odor; [NIOSH]


Used as a solvent, especially in the adhesive and shoe industries; abused by glue sniffers for its euphoric effects; [LaDou, p. 430] Used in shoe and furniture manufacture to dissolve glue; also used in adhesive tape manufacturing; [Sullivan, p. 1211] Fuels made from petroleum contain n-hexane. Modern blends of US gasoline contain about 3% n-hexane. [ATSDR ToxProfiles] Used as a solvent for vegetable oils, polymers, and paints; [Hawley] Used as a degreaser by vehicle repair technicians in a commercially available aerosol containing toluene, acetone, and hexane (50% n-hexane); [Reference #2] Used for determining refractive index of minerals, filling for thermometers (instead of mercury), for calibrations, as reaction medium for polymerizations and pharmaceutical manufacture, alcohol denaturant, as cleaning agent in textile, furniture, and leather industries, and as laboratory reagent; [HSDB]


Acute exposure to 5000 ppm produces giddiness within 10 minutes and 30,000 ppm produces narcosis within 30-60 minutes. [ACGIH] Peripheral neuropathy is the main long-term adverse effect, and it has been observed after exposures in the range of 400 ppm for 45 days or 30 ppm for 2 months to 5 years. [CHEMINFO] n-Hexane 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. [Reference #1] Vehicle repair technicians developed peripheral neuropathy while using an aerosol cleaner containing hexane, acetone, and toluene. Acetone and methyl ethyl ketone amplify the neurotoxicity of n-Hexane. [Reference #2] A skin irritant; Ingestion can cause aspiration into the lungs; Inhalation may cause lowering of consciousness; Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause polyneuropathy; May have adverse effects on human reproduction, based on animal studies; [ICSC] A skin and eye irritant; Inhalation may cause drowsiness or dizziness; An aspiration hazard by ingestion (may cause lung injury); Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause organ injury; Suspected reproductive toxicant and teratogen; Targets the peripheral nervous system, kidney, and testes; [Sigma-Aldrich MSDS]

Reference Link

Volatile Substance Abuse

Exposure Assessment

2,5-Hexanedione (free) in urine = 0.4 mg/L end of shift at end of workweek;

Skin Designation (ACGIH)



50 ppm


500 ppm


50 ppm


1100 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

It has been reported that a 10minute exposure to 5,000 ppm caused dizziness and a sensation of giddiness.

Vapor Pressure

124 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

65 ppm

Odor Threshold High

248 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 77,000 ppm/1 hr

Explanatory Notes

IDLH = 10% of LEL (lower explosive limit); Odor threshold from AIHA; Flash point = -7 deg F; [CHEMINFO]

Half Life

Urine (2,5-hexanedione): 15 hours; blood: 2-3 hours; fat: 64 hours; [TDR, p. 769]

Reference Link

Worker exposure to volatile organic compounds in t...[J Occup Environ Hyg. 2007] - PubMed Result

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects

CNS Solvent Syndrome

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: