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Xylene

General Description

  • Synonyms: o-, m-, and p-Isomers; Xylol; Dimethylbenzene; Methyl toluene
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2590
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 1330-20-7
  • Other Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Numbers: 108-38-3 (m-Xylene); 95-47-6 (o-Xylene); 106-42-3 (p-Xylene)
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: ZE2275000 (m-Xylene); ZE2450000 (o-Xylene); ZE2625000 (p-Xylene)
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1307 130
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - m-Xylene, o-Xylene, and p-Xylene: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Xylenes: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs
OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1
100 ppm
(435 mg/m3)
TWA
HE4 Liver enlargement
HE8 Narcosis
HE12 Mild anemia
HE15 Eye, nose, and throat irritation
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
100 ppm
(435 mg/m3)
TWA
HE3 Liver enlargement
HE8 Narcosis
HE12 Mild anemia
HE15 Eye, nose, and throat irritation
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
100 ppm
(435 mg/m3)
TWA
HE3 Liver enlargement
HE8 Narcosis
HE12 Mild anemia
HE15 Eye, nose, and throat irritation
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) 100 ppm
(435 mg/m3) TWA

150 ppm
(655 mg/m3) STEL
HE4 Reversible kidney and liver damage
HE7 Dizziness, drowsiness
Target organs: brain, CNS
HE11 Difficulty breathing
HE15 Eye, nose, and throat irritation; skin rash
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001) 100 ppm
(434 mg/m3)
TWA

150 ppm
(651 mg/m3)
STEL

A4; BEI
HE8 Narcosis
HE15 Eye and upper respiratory tract irritation
CAL/OSHA PELs 100 ppm
(435 mg/m3) TWA

300 ppm Ceiling

150 ppm
(655 mg/m3) STEL
HE8 Narcosis
HE15 Eye and upper respiratory tract irritation
  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 3 (not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Data is inadequate for an assessment of human carcinogenic potential
  • EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 0.1 mg/m3
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): 2 ppm (acute); 0.6 ppm (intermediate); 0.05 ppm (chronic)
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 900 ppm
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. The most commonly cited symptoms associated with xylene exposures are headache, fatigue, irritability, and gastrointestinal disturbances (ACGIH 2001).
    2. May be involved in ototoxicity associated with exposure to solvents containing xylene (Sulkowski et al. 2002).
    3. Urinary metabolites (presumed to be formed by CYP2E1), which are isomers of methylhippuric acid, are used for the biomonitoring of xylene exposure (Gonzales-Reche et al. 2003).
    4. The EPA reference concentration is based on a subchronic study Impaired motor coordination (decreased rotarod  performance) study in male rats (Korsak et al., 1994).
    5. ATSDR bases its minimal risk level on potential of xylenes to cause developmental liver, neurological and renal effects.
  • Date Last Revised: 11/16/2012
  • Literature Basis:
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Xylene (all isomers). 2001.
    • ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Xylene, 2007
    • EPA IRIS Xylenes 2003
    • Gonzalez-Reche, L.M., Schettgen, T. and Angerer, J.: New approaches to the metabolism of xylenes: verification of the formation of phenylmercapturic acid metabolites of xylenes. Arch. Toxicol. 77(2): 80-85, 2003.
    • Korsak, Z; Wisniewska-Knypl, J; Swiercz, R. (1994) Toxic effects of subchronic combined exposure to n-butyl alcohol and m-xylene in rats. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 7:155-166.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Xylene. 1978.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - m-Xylene. 2002.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - o-Xylene. 2002.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - p-Xylene. 2002.
    • Hood RD, Ottley MS Developmental effects associated with exposure to xylene: a review.
    • Drug Chem Toxicol. 1985;8(4):281-97.
    • Sulkowski, W.J. et al.: Effects of occupational exposure to a mixture of solvents on the inner ear - a field study. Int. J. Occup. Med. Environ. Health 15(3): 247-256, 2002.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
  • analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
  • alternative solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
  • maximum volume: 12 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
  • minimum volume: 0.25 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (STEL)
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1002)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • Diffusive Sampler (SKC 575-002 Passive Sampler)
  • analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
  • sampling time: 5 to 240 Minutes (TWA)
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1002)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
  • Detector Tube
  • manufacturer: Gastec
  • model/type: 123
  • sampling information: 0.5 to 2 strokes
  • upper measurement limit: 625 ppm
  • detection limit: 1 ppm
  • overall uncertainty: 16% for 10 to 50 ppm, 8% for 50 to 250 ppm
  • method reference: on-site air secondary (SEI Certified)
  • Detector Tube
  • manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
  • model/type: 8014-143SA
  • sampling information: 2 strokes
  • upper measurement limit: 1000 ppm
  • detection limit: approximately 2 ppm
  • overall uncertainty: unknown
  • method reference: on-site air secondary (SEI Certified)

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