Toluene Characteristics
Synonyms Methyl benzene, Phenyl methane, Toluol
CAS No. 108-88-3
Chemical formula C6H5CH3
Vapour density 3.2 (air = 1)
Safe Work Australia ES TWA 50 ppm
STEL 150 ppm
Flammable limits LEL 1.0 % by volume
UEL 7.8 % by volume
Equipment group IIA
Temperature classification T1
Chemical/physical properties Toluene at room temperature is a colourless, volatile liquid with a highly flammable vapour having a characteristic aromatic hydrocarbon odour.
Hazardous properties Apart from the risk of vapour ignition, toluene, if inhaled and absorbed through the skin, can have a narcotic and degenerative effect on the central nervous system and cause irritation to the eyes and upper respiratory tract. Although similar chemically to benzene, it has not been shown to be carcinogenic.
Occurrence/Uses Toluene is found in liquid hydrocarbon fuels although its deliberate addition to petrol is illegal in Australia due to the fact that it attracts no excise. It is used extensively as a solvent in surface coatings, varnishes, adhesives and industrial cleaners.
Detectors available Catalytic bead (0 – 100 % LEL)
Gas detector tube (2 – 3,000 ppm)
Photoionisation (PID) (0 – 10,000 ppm)
Suggested alarm levels Lo: 5 % LEL (500 ppm)
Hi: 10 % LEL (1,000 ppm)


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