Toluene (C 6 H 5 CH 3 ) is a colorless liquid with an unpleasant odor, contained in coal tar. Molecular weight of 92.134, t ° melting 94.99 °, boiling temperature t ° 110.625 °, at t ° 22 °, 0.492 g of toluene dissolves in 1 liter of water. It is used as a solvent for paints, thinner for varnishes, in the manufacture of explosives, dyes. Penetrates through the skin. In the body, toluene is oxidized to form benzoic, hippuric acids or glucuronides. In high concentrations, toluene vapors act narcotic. Toluene affects the nervous system more strongly than benzene, but it is much weaker than benzene and affects blood formation.
Acute toluene poisoning is possible in emergency situations. Main symptoms: headache, dizziness, nausea , small rapid pulse , drop in blood pressure. In severe cases, convulsions , loss of consciousness, collapse. There are deaths due to paralysis of the higher nerve sections when exposed to high concentrations of toluene.
The clinical picture of chronic poisoning (exposure to concentrations 5-10 times higher than the MPC ) is characterized by headache, dizziness, general weakness, fatigue, increased nervous irritability, nausea, discomfort and pain in the heart; nosebleeds are often observed. Peripheral blood contains changes in white and red blood (a decrease in the number of red blood cells , a change in their size and shape, lymphocytes, a shift to the left of the leukocyte formula, sometimes a decrease or increase in the total number of leukocytes). In women, the menstrual-ovarian cycle may be disturbed. Sometimes there is dry skin, cracks, dermatitis. MPC of toluene 50 mg / m 3 .