Toxin Profiles

Substance Name

Toluene
Identification Number: CASRN | 108-88-3

  Nastiness Attributes


  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.

    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.


  • CATEGORIES: Chemical Found in Air near CSG Operations | Pit Chemicals | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Household Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | Odor | This Chemical is an Odorant and has a smell like - paint | Indirect Additives Used in Food Contact Substances | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - Non Food Use Only | CSG Fracking BTEX Chemicals | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Benzenoids | Benzene and Substituted Derivatives | Toluenes | Toluenes
  • SYNONYMS: Methyl-Benzene | Methylbenzene | Methylbenzol | Monomethyl benzene | Phenyl-Methane | Phenylmethane | Toluol
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Toluene is found in allspice. Toluene is isolated from distilled tolu balsam (Myroxylon balsamum). Minor constituent of lime oil (Citrus aurantifolia).Toluene, formerly known as toluol, is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners. It is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is widely used as an industrial feedstock and as a solvent. (Wikipedia) Toluene has been shown to exhibit beta-oxidant, depressant, hepatoprotective, anesthetic and neurotransmitter functions (A7693, A7694, A7695, A7696, A7697).
  • COMMENTS: This Chemical is in the category of VOC and is found in Air near CSG Operations From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia: Highly flammable liquid and vapour. Suspected of damaging the unborn child . May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways. May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure . Causes skin irritation. May cause drowsiness or dizziness | Chronic Health Hazard General Health Hazard | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: C7H8
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | CPDB | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | OEHHA | TEDX | FracFocus | EPA in USA | US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES | Article-Colborn-Air | Flavornet | FDA Indirect Food Additives | EPA USA - Pesticide Inerts | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 21/04/2015

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: The central nervous system is the primary target organ of toluene and other alkylbenzenes. Manifestations of exposure range from slight dizziness and headache to unconciousness, respiratory depression and death. Other symptoms include tiredness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. (T10, L174)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Acute exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors can cause a cholinergic crisis characterized by severe nausea/vomiting, salivation, sweating, bradycardia, hypotension, collapse, and convulsions. Increasing muscle weakness is a possibility and may result in death if respiratory muscles are involved. Accumulation of ACh at motor nerves causes overstimulation of nicotinic expression at the neuromuscular junction. When this occurs symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, fasciculation, and paralysis can be seen. When there is an accumulation of ACh at autonomic ganglia this causes overstimulation of nicotinic expression in the sympathetic system. Symptoms associated with this are hypertension, and hypoglycemia. Overstimulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the central nervous system, due to accumulation of ACh, results in anxiety, headache, convulsions, ataxia, depression of respiration and circulation, tremor, general weakness, and potentially coma. When there is expression of muscarinic overstimulation due to excess acetylcholine at muscarinic acetylcholine receptors symptoms of visual disturbances, tightness in chest, wheezing due to bronchoconstriction, increased bronchial secretions, increased salivation, lacrimation, sweating, peristalsis, and urination can occur. Certain reproductive effects in fertility, growth, and development for males and females have been linked specifically to organophosphate pesticide exposure. Most of the research on reproductive effects has been conducted on farmers working with pesticides and insecticdes in rural areas. In females menstrual cycle disturbances, longer pregnancies, spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and some developmental effects in offspring have been linked to organophosphate pesticide exposure. Prenatal exposure has been linked to impaired fetal growth and development. Neurotoxic effects have also been linked to poisoning with OP pesticides causing four neurotoxic effects in humans: cholinergic syndrome, intermediate syndrome, organophosphate-induced delayed polyneuropathy (OPIDP), and chronic organophosphate-induced neuropsychiatric disorder (COPIND). These syndromes result after acute and chronic exposure to OP pesticides. | Inhalation and ingestion are the primary routes of exposure, though toluene may also be absorbed through the skin. It accumulates rapidly in the brain and is subsequently deposited in other tissues according to their lipid content, with the highest levels attained in adipose tissue. The primary initialsteps in toluene metabolism is side-chain hydroxylation catalyzed predominately by the cytochrome P450 isozyme CYP2E1, followed by oxidation to benzoic acid. Most of the benzoic acid is then conjugated with glycine to form hippuric acid,but a small portion can be conjugated with UDP-glucuronate to form the acyl-glucuronide. A very small portion of absorbed toluene can be converted by CYP1A2, CYP2B2, or CYP2E1 to ortho- or para-cresol. These metabolites are excreted in the urine, and the remaining toluene is exhaled unchanged. (T10, L174)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Toluene is a cholinesterase or acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor. A cholinesterase inhibitor (or 'anticholinesterase') suppresses the action of acetylcholinesterase. Because of its essential function, chemicals that interfere with the action of acetylcholinesterase are potent neurotoxins, causing excessive salivation and eye-watering in low doses, followed by muscle spasms and ultimately death. Nerve gases and many substances used in insecticides have been shown to act by binding a serine in the active site of acetylcholine esterase, inhibiting the enzyme completely. Acetylcholine esterase breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is released at nerve and muscle junctions, in order to allow the muscle or organ to relax. The result of acetylcholine esterase inhibition is that acetylcholine builds up and continues to act so that any nerve impulses are continually transmitted and muscle contractions do not stop. Among the most common acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are phosphorus-based compounds, which are designed to bind to the active site of the enzyme. The structural requirements are a phosphorus atom bearing two lipophilic groups, a leaving group (such as a halide or thiocyanate), and a terminal oxygen. | Toluene binds to cardiac Na+ channels in the open state and unbinds either when channels move between inactivated states or from an inactivated to a closed state. The use- and frequency-dependent block of Na+ by toluene might be responsible, at least in part, for its arrhythmogenic effect. (A64)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Membrane"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Toluene is used in paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, lacquers, adhesives, and rubber and in some printing and leather tanning processes. Gasoline, which contains 5 to 7 perfect toluene by weight, is the largest source of atmospheric emissions and exposure of the general populace. (T10, L174)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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