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AKOS BBS-00004379
Antisal 1a
Molecular Formula
MDL Number
Molecular Weight
MOL File

Chemical Properties

Toluene is a clear, colourless liquid with a sweet, benzene-like odour. Toluene occurs naturally in crude oil and in the toluene tree. It is also produced in the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil and making coke from coal. Toluene is used in making paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, lacquers, adhesives, and rubber and in some printing and leather tanning processes. Toluene is also used in the production of polymers used to make nylon, plastic soda bottles, and polyurethanes and for pharmaceuticals, dyes, cosmetic nail products, and the synthesis of organic chemicals.
Toluene has been reported as the most commonly abused hydrocarbon solvent, primarily through ‘glue sniffing’. The common possibilities of exposure to high levels of toluene include indoor air from the use of household products such as paints, paint thinners, adhesives, synthetic fragrances, and many other sources.
Colorless liquid
Toluene is a clear, colorless, noncorrosive liquid with a sweet, pungent, benzene-like odor. The Odor Threshold in air is variously given as 0.17 ppm, 2.9 ppm (NJ) and 8 ppm (EPA). The Odor Threshold in water is 0.04-1.0 mg/L
-95 °C
111 °C
vapor density 
3.2 (vs air)

vapor pressure 
22 mm Hg ( 20 °C)

refractive index 
n/D 1.496(lit.)

40 °F

storage temp. 
Water Solubility 
0.5 g/L (20 ºC)
CAS DataBase Reference
108-88-3(CAS DataBase Reference)
NIST Chemistry Reference
EPA Substance Registry System
108-88-3(EPA Substance)

Hazard Information

Chemical Properties
Toluene is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet/pungent odor. It is extensively used as a solvent in different industries, i.e., rubber chemical manufacturing, drugs and pharmaceuticals, thinner for inks, paints dyes, and perfume manufacturing. It is a natural constituent of crude oil and is produced from petroleum refi ning and coke-oven operations. Toluene occurs naturally as a component of crude oil and occurs in petroleum refi ning and coke oven operations. Occupational workers associated with several kinds of activities, such as manufacturing of dyes, printing inks, painting automobile mechanics, gasoline manufacturers, shippers, and retailers, adhesives and coatings manufacturers and applicators, audio-equipment product workers, chemical industry workers, coke-oven workers, fabric manufacturers (fabric coating), sites of hazardous wastes, linoleum manufacturers, in pharmaceutical manufacturing, printing works, shoe manufacturing industry, become exposed to toluene.
General Description
A clear colorless liquid with a characteristic aromatic odor. Flash point 40°F. Less dense than water (7.2 lb/gal) and insoluble in water. Hence floats on water. Vapors heavier than air. May be toxic by inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. Used in aviation and automotive fuels, as a solvent, and to make other chemicals.
Reactivity Profile
TOLUENE(108-88-3) reacts vigorously with allyl chloride or other alkyl halides even at minus 70° C in the presence of ethyl aluminum dichloride or ethyl aluminum sesquichloride. Explosions have been reported [NFPA 491M 1991]. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents. When added to a tank of sulfur dichloride, the tank over pressurized and ruptured in a reaction thought to be catalyzed by iron or iron(III) chloride [Chem. Eng. News, 1988, 66(32), 2].
Air & Water Reactions
Highly flammable. Insoluble in water.
Health Hazard
Exposures to toluene cause adverse health effects to animals and humans. The symptoms of toxicity and poisoning include, but are not limited to, mild irritation to the skin, headache, nausea, and effects on the CNS. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of toluene causes disturbances in vision, dizziness, nausea, CNS depression, paresthesia, and sudden collapse. The acute oral LD50 value of toluene in laboratory rats has been reported as 636–7300 mg/kg. Exposure to toluene has been reported to cause rapid and severe corneal damage and conjunctiva infl ammation. The acute dermal LD50 in rabbits was found to be between 1200 and 1400 mg/kg.
Health Hazard
Vapors irritate eyes and upper respiratory tract; cause dizziness, headache, anesthesia, respiratory arrest. Liquid irritates eyes and causes drying of skin. If aspirated, causes coughing, gagging, distress, and rapidly developing pulmonary edema. If ingested causes vomiting, griping, diarrhea, depressed respiration.
Potential Exposure
Toluene is used as an industrial chemical, chemical intermediate; solvent, and emulsifier; may be encountered in the manufacture of benzene. It is also used as a chemical feed for toluene diisocyanate, phenol, benzyl and benzoyl derivatives; benzoic acid; toluene sulfonates; nitrotoluenes, vinyltoluene, and saccharin; as a solvent for paints and coatings; or as a component of automobile and aviation fuels.
First aid
If this chemical gets into the eyes, remove any contact lenses at once and irrigate immediately for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids. Seek medical attention immediately. If this chemical contacts the skin, remove contaminated clothing and wash immediately with soap and water. Seek medical attention immediately. If this chemical has been inhaled, remove from exposure, begin rescue breathing (using universal precautions, including resuscitation mask) if breathing has stopped and CPR if heart action has stopped. Transfer promptly to a medical facility. When this chemical has been swallowed, get medical attention. Give large quantities of water and induce vomiting. Do not make an unconscious person vomit.
Fire Hazard
Behavior in Fire: Vapor is heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back.
UN1294 Toluene, Hazard Class: 3; Labels: 3-Flammable liquid.
Incompatible with oxidizers (chlorates, nitrates, peroxides, permanganates, perchlorates, chlorine, bromine, fluorine, etc.); contact may cause fires or explosions. Keep away from alkaline materials, strong bases, strong acids, oxoacids, epoxides. Violent reaction with mixtures of nitric and sulfuric acid.
Waste Disposal
Consult with environmental regulatory agencies for guidance on acceptable disposal practices. Generators of waste containing this contaminant (≥100 kg/mo) must conform with EPA regulations governing storage, transportation, treatment, and waste disposal.

Safety Data

Hazard Codes 
Risk Statements 
R11:Highly Flammable.
R38:Irritating to the skin.
R48/20:Harmful: danger of serious damage to health by prolonged exposure through inhalation .
R63:Possible risk of harm to the unborn child.
R65:Harmful: May cause lung damage if swallowed.
R67:Vapors may cause drowsiness and dizziness.
R39/23/24/25:Toxic: danger of very serious irreversible effects through inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed .
R23/24/25:Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed .
Safety Statements 
S36/37:Wear suitable protective clothing and gloves .
S46:If swallowed, seek medical advice immediately and show this container or label .
S62:If swallowed, do not induce vomiting: seek medical advice immediately and show this container or label .
S45:In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show label where possible) .
UN 1294 3/PG 2

WGK Germany 


HS Code 
Safety Profile
Poison by intraperitoneal route. Moderately toxic by intravenous and subcutaneous routes. Mddly toxic by inhalation. An experimental teratogen. Human systemic effects by inhalation: CNS recordtng changes, hallucinations or distorted perceptions, motor activity changes, antipsychotic, psychophysiological test changes, and bone marrow changes. Experimental reproductive effects. Mutation data reported. A human eye irritant. An experimental skin and severe eye irritant. Toluene is derived from coal tar, and commercial grades usually contain small amounts of benzene as an impurity. Inhalation of 200 ppm of toluene for 8 hours may cause impairment of coordtnation and reaction time; with higher concentrations (up to 800 ppm) these effects are increased and are observed in a shorter time. In the few cases of acute toluene poisoning reported, the effect has been that of a narcotic, the workman passing through a stage of intoxication into one of coma. Recovery following removal from exposure has been the rule. An occasional report of chronic poisoning describes an anemia and leukopenia, with biopsy showing a bone marrow hypoplasia. These effects, however, are less common in people working with toluene, and they are not as severe. At 200-500 ppm, headache, nausea, eye irritation, loss of appetite, a bad taste, lassitude, impairment of coordination and reaction time are reported, but are not usually accompanied by any laboratory or physical findings of significance. With higher concentrations, the above complaints are increased and in addition, anemia, leukopenia, and enlarged liver may be found in rare cases. A common air contaminant, emitted from modern building materials - (CENEAR 69,22,91). Used in production of drugs of abuse. Flammable liquid. A very dangerous fire hazard when exposed to heat, flame, or oxidizers. Explosive in the form of vapor when exposed to heat or flame. Explosive reaction with 1,3-dtchloro-5,5-dimethyl-2,4- imidazolididione, dinitrogen tetraoxide, concentrated nitric acid, H2SO4 + HNO3, N2O4, AgClO4, BrF3, UF6, sulfur dichloride. Forms an explosive mixture with tetranitromethane. Can react vigorously with oxidtzing materials. To fight fire, use foam, CO2, dry chemical. When heated to decomposition it emits acrid smoke and irritating fumes.
Hazardous Substances Data
108-88-3(Hazardous Substances Data)

Raw materials And Preparation Products

Raw materials
Sodium hydroxide-->Sulfuric acid -->Benzene-->Carbomer 940-->Diethylene glycol-->PETROLEUM ETHER-->COAL TAR-->Platinum-->Coke (coal) -->Motor benzol-->light benzol-->heavy benzol-->COUMARONE RESIN-->Petroleum toluene
Preparation Products
Chromocene-->2,4-DI-(TERT-BUTOXY)-5-BROMOPYRIMIDINE-->1-(2,6-DIMETHYLPHENYL)PIPERAZINE-->5-ACETYLAMINO-2-CHLORO-4-PICOLINE-->Chloroprene-phenolic adhesive 801-->Phenylephrine hydrochloride -->3-Cyanophenyl isocyanate-->6-FLUORO-4-HYDROXY-2-(TRIFLUOROMETHYL)QUINOLINE-->Dichloro(1,5-cyclooctadiene)palladium(II)-->4-AMINO-6-CHLORO-PYRIMIDINE-5-CARBALDEHYDE-->2-AMINO-4-METHOXYPYRIMIDINE-->5-BROMOPYRIDINE-2-CARBONYL CHLORIDE-->FLUORESCEIN CHLORIDE-->2-Thienyl isocyanate-->1,2-DIAMINO-2-METHYLPROPANE-->Asphalt antifouling paint L40-32-->N,O-Bis(trimethylsilyl)acetamide-->5-Methoxypyridine-3-boronic acid-->Bis(benzonitrile)palladium chloride-->2-(2-HEXYLOXYETHOXY)ETHANOL-->METHYL 4-OXOTETRAHYDROTHIOPHENE-3-CARBOXYLATE-->2,2-DIMETHYLCYCLOHEXANONE-->2-ETHOXYPYRIMIDIN-4-YLAMINE-->3,4-(METHYLENEDIOXY)PHENYL ISOCYANATE-->(R)-Glycidyl butyrate-->(Methoxymethyl)triphenylphosphonium chloride-->1,3-DIMETHYL-2-(2-FURYL)IMIDAZOLIDINE-->1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide-->1-(3-CHLOROBENZYL)PIPERAZINE-->TRIMETHYLAMINE N-OXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE-->TRIS(NONYLPHENYL) PHOSPHITE-->Antimony triacetate-->1-(2-CHLOROBENZYL)PIPERAZINE-->3-Thiophenecarbonyl chloride-->(11AR)-(+)-10,11,12,13-TETRAHYDRODIINDENO[7,1-DE:1',7'-FG][1,3,2]DIOXAPHOSPHOCIN-5-DIMETHYLAMINE-->2-ISOCYANATO-4,6-DIMETHOXYPYRIMIDINE-->Heptyl 4-hydroxybenzoate-->QUINOLINE-2-CARBONYL CHLORIDE-->N-(Chloromethyl)phthalimide-->3-Amino-3-azabicyclo[3.3.0]octane hydrochloride

Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS)

Questions And Answer

Toluene (molecular formula: C7H8) is a homologue of benzene, also known as "methyl benzene" and "phenyl methane". It is a colorless, volatile liquid with a special aroma. Toluene is a member of aromatic hydrocarbons. In the air, toluene can only incompletely burn and the flame is yellow. Many of its properties are similar to those of benzene and have aromatic odors similar to those of benzene. In practice, they are often used as organic solvents instead of the rather toxic benzene.
Toluene is prone to chlorination and produces benzene-chloromethane or benzene-trichloromethane, both of which are good industrial solvents; it can extract bromine from the bromine water, but cannot react with bromine water; it is also easy to nitrify and produce nitrotoluene or o-nitrotoluene, both of which are the raw materials of dyes; one part of toluene and three parts of nitric acid are nitrated to give trinitrotoluene (common name TNT); it is also easily sulfonated to generate o-toluenesulfonic acid or p-toluenesulfonate which are the raw materials for making dyes or making saccharin. Toluene vapor mixes with air to form explosive substances, so it can make TNT explosives.
Toluene is a component of gasoline, paints, inks, lacquers, paint thinners, adhesives, fingernail polish, cleaning agents, and rubber. BTX (a mixture of benzene, toluene, and xylene) is added to gasoline to improve octane ratings. Toluene is used to produce benzene, trinitrotoluene (TNT), nylon, plastics, and polyurethanes. It is also used in production of drugs of abuse. Toluene is a favorite of solvent abusers, who intentionally inhale high concentrations to achieve a euphoric effect. It is used in the production of pharmaceuticals, dyes, and cosmetic nail products. It is used against roundworms and hookworms.

Detailed applications are summarized here:
Chemical manufacture
Production of benzene and dimethyl benzene
Main feedstock
Production of benzoic acid
The oxidation products of toluene
Production of benzene chloromethane or benzene trichloromethane
The chlorination products of toluene
Production of p-nitrotoluene or o-nitrotoluene
The nitration products of toluene
Production of o-toluenesulfonic acid or p-toluenesulfonic acid
The sulfonation products of toluene
High-octane gasoline
Used as octane booster to increase the octane value of gasoline
Adhesives manufacture
Carpet adhesive solvents
Good solubility for adhesive
Chemical analysis
ICP-AES, AAS, AFS, ICP-MS and ion chromatography
Stander material
Titration analysis
Stander solution
Hemoglobin extraction
Help to break or disrupt red blood cells
Cosmetic and personal care
Nail products
Added to help the evaporation of solvents
Paint, varnish, lacquer, adhesive,nitrocellulose and ink
Solvents and diluents
Production of saccharin, dyes, drugs and explosives,etc.
Raw material

The crude benzene fraction of coking coke contains 15-20% of toluene, which was once the main source of toluene, and can generate 1.1-1.3kg of toluene per ton of coke. Since the 1950s, the main source of toluene in the world has changed from coking by-products to catalytic reforming and hydrocarbon cracking. In 1982, petroleum toluene accounted for more than 96% of total production. Catalytic reforming oil contains 50-60% aromatics ( by volume), of which the toluene content can reach 40-45%; the content of aromatics in pyrolysis gasoline is about 70% (by mass), of which 15-20% is toluene.
  • Toluene is more easily substituted than benzene, and the substituted product is mainly a derivative that is in ortho and para positions with the methyl group. For example, toluene reacts with mixed acid (mixture of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid) - nitrification:

  • Sulfonation
Reaction Temp.
O-toluenesulfonic acid
p-toluenesulfonic acid
M-toluene sulfonic acid
At 0°C (%)
At 100°C (%)
  • In the presence of iron or ferric chloride, the chlorination reaction takes place on the benzene ring, and chlorination takes place on the methyl group in the presence of light or heating:
  • Toluene can be oxidized by an oxidant such as potassium permanganate, potassium dichromate or the like, or can be oxidized by air in the presence of a catalyst to produce benzoic acid.

Hazards & Heath Effects
Metabolism in body
80% of Toluene absorbed in the body is oxidized to benzyl alcohol in the presence of NADP (transconjugase II), oxidized to benzaldehyde in the presence of NAD (transconjugase I), and then oxidized to benzoic acid. Then, it is combined with glycine to form hippuric acid in the presence of adenosine triphosphate. Therefore, 16%-20% of toluene absorbed into the body is exhaled by the respiratory tract, and 80% are excreted in the form of hippuric acid through the kidneys.

Human Health Effects
People are most likely to be exposed to toluene by smoking or using consumer products containing toluene (paints, varnish, nail polish, paint cleaners, stain removers, etc.) especially if there is not good ventilation.
Eye and upper airway irritation occurred after a 6.5 hr exposure to an air level of 100 ppm (377 mg/cu m) toluene, and lacrymation was seen at 500 mg/cu m. Volunteers exposed to 100 ppm (377 mg/cu m) toluene for 6 hr/day for four days suffered from subjective complaints of headache, dizziness and a sensation of intoxication. In subjects exposed to 750 mg/cu m for 8 hr, fatigue, muscular weakness, confusion, impaired coordination, enlarged pupils and accommodation disturbances were experienced; at about 3000 mg/cu m, severe fatigue, pronounced nausea, mental confusion, considerable in coordination with staggering gait and strongly affected pupillary light reflexes were observed. After exposure at the high level, muscular fatigue, nervousness and insomnia lasted for several days. Heavy accidental exposure leads to coma.
There is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of toluene in humans. There is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity of toluene in experimental animals. Therefore, Toluene is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.

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