Agent Name

2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene

Alternative Name

TNT

CAS Number

118-96-7

Formula

C7-H5-N3-O6

Major Category

Other Uses

Synonyms

1-Methyl-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene; Trinitrotoluene; sym-Trinitrotoluene; Trinitrotoluol; TNT; [NIOSH]

Category

Explosives

Description

Colorless to pale-yellow, odorless solid or crushed flakes; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

An explosive that requires "a high-velocity initiator or efficient concussion" to detonate; [ACGIH]

Comments

Toxic hepatitis, aplastic anemia, methemoglobinemia, hemolytic anemia, and cataracts have been reported after occupational exposure. In one case, 43% methemoglobinemia was induced after 24 hours from an inhalation and skin exposure. Exposed workers experienced sneezing, sore throat and skin irritation. In a munitions plant with mean air levels of 2.38 mg/m3, no fatalities or permanent liver damage were reported in workers handling TNT over a period of 20 years. Abnormal liver function tests were found in a study of 43 TNT shell-packers and shell-loaders during a 5-month period in which dust level ranged from 0.3 to 0.8 mg/m3. Hemolytic anemia has been described in workers with a genetic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Reduced hemoglobin values were seen with exposures as low as 0.48 mg/m3. Cataracts were induced in 6 of 12 workers exposed at 0.14 to 0.58 mg/m3 for 6.8 [+/-] 4.7 years and in 7 of 9 workers exposed at 0.10 to 0.35 mg/m3 for 1 to 27 years (average of 14 years). Listed in the table "Examples of Industrial Chemicals for Which Methemoglobin Formation is NOT the Principal Cause of Toxicity"; [ACGIH] May stain the skin yellow and cause dermatitis; Other potential adverse effects are methemoglobinemia, hemolysis, liver injury, and jaundice. [ICSC]

Exposure Assessment
BEI

Methemoglobin in blood = 1.5% of hemoglobin during or end of shift. [ACGIH]

Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

0.1 mg/m3

PEL (OSHA)

1.5 mg/m3

IDLH (NIOSH)

500 mg/m3

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: Most of the data reported in the literature about trinitrotoluene (TNT) poisoning concern the effects caused by chronic exposures. The available toxicological data contain no evidence that an acute exposure to a high concentration of TNT would impede escape or cause irreversible health effects within 30 minutes. . . . Basis for revised IDLH: No inhalation toxicity data are available on which to base an IDLH for 2,4,6trinitrotoluene. Therefore, the revised IDLH for 2,4,6trinitrotoluene is 500 mg/m3 based on acute oral toxicity data in humans [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969] and animals [Dilley et al. 1982; MRC 1921]

Vapor Pressure

0.0002 mm Hg

Explanatory Notes

The Guide from the Emergency Response Guidebook is for "TNT, wetted with not less than 10% water." See "2018 Notice of Intended Changes." [TLVs and BEIs]

Reference Link

ATSDR - ToxFAQs - 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT)

Adverse Effects
Anemia

Anemia, Aplastic

Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Primary

Methemoglobinemia

Methemoglobinemia, Secondary

IARC Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

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Chemical Information

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Biomedical References

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Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent: