LABORATORY CHEMICAL SAFETY SUMMARY: TOLUENE

Substance

Toluene

(Methylbenzene, toluol, phenylmethane)

CAS 108-88-3

 

Formula

C6H5CH3

 

Physical Properties

Colorless liquid

bp 111 °C, mp -95 °C

Poorly soluble in water (0.05 g/100 mL)

 

Odor

Aromatic, benzene-like odor detectable at 0.16 to 37 ppm (mean = 1.6 ppm)

Vapor Density

3.14 (air = 1.0)

 

Vapor Pressure

22 mmHg at 20 °C

 

Flash Point

4 °C

 

Autoignition Temperature

480 °C

 

Toxicity Data

LD50 oral (rat)

2650 to 7530 mg/kg

 

LD50 skin (rabbit)

12,124 mg/kg

 

LC50 inhal (rat)

26,700 ppm (1 h)

 

PEL (OSHA)

200 ppm (750 mg/m3)

 

STEL (OSHA)

150 ppm (560 mg/m3)

 

TLV-TWA (ACGIH)

50 ppm (188 mg/m3)—skin

Major Hazards

Highly flammable liquid and vapor.

 

Toxicity

The acute toxicity of toluene is low. Toluene may cause eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation. Short-term exposure to high concentrations of toluene (e.g., 600 ppm) may produce fatigue, dizziness, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, and stupor; 10,000 ppm may cause death from respiratory failure. Ingestion of toluene may cause nausea and vomiting and central nervous system depression. Contact of liquid toluene with the eyes causes temporary irritation. Toluene is a skin irritant and may cause redness and pain when trapped beneath clothing or shoes; prolonged or repeated contact with toluene may result in dry and cracked skin. Because of its odor and irritant effects, toluene is regarded as having good warning properties.

The chronic effects of exposure to toluene are much less severe than those of benzene. No carcinogenic effects were reported in animal studies. Equivocal results were obtained in studies to determine developmental effects in animals. Toluene was not observed to be mutagenic in standard studies.



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