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Ethylbenzene is an organic compound most commonly used in the production of plastics. It is a clear liquid with an irritating odor similar to gasoline.


Ethylbenzene is found in the following products:

  • Paints (Arts and Craft and Interior/Exterior Building)
  • Pesticides
  • Rust Prevention Spray
  • Synthetic Rubber
  • Auto and Airplane Fuel
  • Plastics


Human Health Effects

  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists ethylbenzene as possibly carcinogenic.
  • Exposure to high concentrations can cause people to become, dizzy, lightheaded, and to pass out.
  • Chronic exposure through the air has been shown to cause hearing kidney damage in animals.
  • Ethylbenzene is considered the most sever irritant of all of the benzene compounds.
  • Direct skin exposure to liquid can cause first degree burns.
  • Toxic to the central nervous system
  • Irritant of mucous membranes and eyes
  • Prolonged exposure to vapors may cause upper respiratory tract irritation, hematological (blood) disorders, and functional disorders
  • Populations at higher risk of effects include people with pulmonary, liver, blood, kidney, and nervous system disorders as well as existing skin conditions.
  • In a study, it was detected in 8 of 8 samples of mother's milk from around the United States.

Environmental Effects

  • Moderate acute toxicity to algae, aquatic invertebrates, and fish.
  • Low threat of bioconcentration in aquatic organisms
  • Half-life: 55 hours in air; 5 days in seawater; 4 days in groundwater.


Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry- Ethylbenzene

Hazardous Substances Data Bank- Ethylbenzene

IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans

New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet- Ethylbenzene

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