Formula: C7H8 | CAS: 108-88-3

Detecting toluene: Toluene is the raw material for a range of other aromatic chemicals such as benzaldehyde, benzoic acid and dyes. It is a thinner for paints and lacquers, inks, perfumes and dyes.

Detecting toluene, a member of the BTEX family

The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) benzene (B), toluene (T), ethylbenzene (E), and the isomers of xylene (X) also known as BTEX are important industrial solvents which frequently become industrial contaminants. These VOCs, used in gasoline, printing industry, leather industries, and rubber manufacture, produce a large amount of contaminated wastewater that is discharged into the aqueous environment.

Protecting both people and the environment whilst meeting the operational needs of your business is a very important role and, if you have operations in the UK you will be well aware of the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (CoSHH) Regulations and likewise the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in the US. Similar legislation exists worldwide, the common theme being an onus on hazard identification, risk assessment and the provision of
appropriate control measures (bearing in mind the hierarchy of controls) as well as health surveillance in some cases.

Toluene is the common name for methylbenzene, a commercially important intermediate chemical produced throughout the world in enormous quantities. The general population is exposed to toluene mainly through inhalation of vapour in ambient air or from cigarette smoke. Apart from risks associated with occupational exposure, toluene poses special hazards to glue-sniffers, who intentionally abuse solvent mixtures containing this chemical.
– World Health Organisation (IRIS)

How to detect toluene in the environment

The most likely source of BTEX pollution in the environment according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is due to leakage from underground gasoline storage tanks into ground water, leaching from landfills, and discharge from factories and refineries.

The presence of toluene in the environment does not always lead to exposure. In order for it to cause any adverse health effects, you must come into contact with it. You may be exposed by breathing, eating, or drinking the substance or by skin contact. Following exposure to any chemical, the adverse health effects that you may encounter depend on several factors, including the amount to which you are exposed (dose), the way you are exposed, the duration of exposure, the form of the chemical and if you were exposed to any other chemicals.

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Everything you need to know about detecting toluene

Our Gas Factsheets which is available to download below provides you with key information on the exposure limits and the locations of where potentially harmful gases can occur. We also share information on gas detection monitoring techniques and equipment that can help you manage gas detection in the workplace, for worker and site safety.


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Detecting Toluene

Formula: C7H8 | CAS: 108-88-3

Synonyms: toluene, methylbenzene, toluol, phenylmethane, Methacide, Antisal 1a, CP 25

Toluene is the raw material for a range of other aromatic chemicals such as benzaldehyde, benzoic acid and dyes. It is a thinner for paints and lacquers, inks, perfumes, and dyes.

Specification Value/Information
Formula C7H8
CAS no. 108-88-3
Gas Response Factor, 11.7 eV 0.55
Gas Response Factor, 10.6 eV 0.56
Gas Response Factor, 10.0 eV 0.6
ppm per mg/m⁻³, (20 °C, 1 bar) 0.261
Molecular Weight, g/mole 92.0
Melting point, °C -93
Boiling point, °C 111
Flash point, °C 4.4
Upper Explosive Limit, % 7.1
Lower Explosive Limit, % 1
Specification Value/Information
Density,⁻³ 0.865
Ionisation Energy, eV 8.82
EH40 TWA, ppm 50
EH40 TWA, mg.m⁻³ 191
EH40 STEL, ppm 150
EH40 STEL, mg.m⁻³ 574
NIOSH ST, ppm 150
NIOSH TWA REL, ppm 100
NIOSH ST, mg.m⁻³ 560
NIOSH TWA REL, mg.m⁻³ 375
NIOSH IDLH, ppm 500
OSHA TWA PEL, ppm 200

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Detecting Toluene a member of the BTEX family guide covers topics on btex compounds, source of toluene and toluene detection methods using PID.

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