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Article
February 21, 1942

THE TOXICITY AND POTENTIAL DANGERS OF TOLUENE: PRELIMINARY REPORT

Author Affiliations

BETHESDA, MD.
From the Division of Industrial Hygiene, National Institute of Health.

JAMA. 1942;118(8):579-584. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830080011003
Abstract

Toluene is used extensively as a solvent in the lacquer industry, and in the explosives industry it plays an important role as a starting material for trinitrotoluene. At present it is generally assumed that the maximal permissible concentration of toluene is about 200 parts per million parts of air. It appears, however, that there is little evidence to sustain the validity of this concentration as the maximal permissible limit. For this reason the following study was undertaken with the hope of establishing more definite data on which maximal permissible concentrations could be based.

Cole and Armstrong1 established, by spectrophotometric determination, that the toluene used for this investigation was of a high degree of purity, containing not more than 0.01 per cent of benzene.

Animal experiments indicate that toluene is more irritant and, with lower concentrations, has a somewhat stronger narcotic action than benzene but that its effect on the

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