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Xylene

General Description

Synonyms:  o-, m-, and p-Isomers; Xylol; Dimethylbenzene; Methyl toluene

OSHA IMIS code: 2590

CAS number(s): 1330-20-7; 108-38-3 (m-Xylene); 95-47-6 (o-Xylene); 106-42-3 (p-Xylene)

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs
OSHA 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
NIOSH REL 100 ppm (435 mg/m3) TWA
150 ppm (655 mg/m3) TWA
HE4 -- reversible kidney and liver damage
HE7 -- dizziness, drowsiness
target organs: brain, CNS
HE11 -- difficulty breathing
HE15 -- eye, nose, and throat irritation; skin rash
ACGIH TLV® (1992) 100 ppm (435 mg/m3) TWA
150 ppm (655 mg/m3) TWA
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

Carcinogenic classification:

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 0.1 mg/m3

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): 2 ppm (acute); 0.6 ppm (intermediate); 0.05 ppm (chronic)

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 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.

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Xylene (all isomers). 2016.
  • ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Xylene, 2007
  • EPA: Integrated Risk Information System - 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/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cardsm-Xylene. 2002.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cardso-Xylene. 2002.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cardsp-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.

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