Toluene is a man-made hydrocarbon derived from benzene. Toluene is the primary odor component in gasoline. It is used in chemical manufacturing and as a solvent.
Appearance: Colorless liquid or gas.
Odor: Floral, pungent, rubbery, mothballs, paint thinner.
Stationary: Toluene is only emitted by facilities that use it as a feedstock or solvent. These include petrochemical plants, manufacturers of paint and ink, and printers.
Indoors: Paints, solvents, adhesives, nail polish, and cigarette smoke.
Short-term (acute): Light exposure: Fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, and nausea.
Medium to high exposure: Depression of the central nervous system, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
Long-term (chronic): Depression of the central nervous system, including drowsiness, ataxia, tremors, cerebral atrophy, nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), and impaired speech, hearing, and vision; cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat); developmental impacts to the fetus in pregnant women. No known carcinogenicity.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Effects Screening Level:
Short term (1 hour): 1,200 parts per billion (ppb).
Long term (1 year): 320 ppb.
Odor: 170 ppb.