What is Ethylbenzene?
Ethylbenzene is a colorless, flammable liquid that smells like gasoline. It is found in natural products such as coal tar and petroleum and is also found in manufactured products such as inks, insecticides, and paints. Ethylbenzene is used primarily to make another chemical, styrene.
Ethylbenzene is used primarily in the production of styrene. It is also used as a solvent, as a constituent of asphalt and naphtha, and in fuels.
Sources and Potential Exposure
Ethylbenzene is mainly used in the manufacture of styrene. Acute (short-term) exposure to ethylbenzene in humans results in respiratory effects, such as throat irritation and chest constriction, irritation of the eyes, and neurological effects such as dizziness. Chronic (long-term) exposure to ethylbenzene by inhalation in humans has shown conflicting results regarding its effects on the blood. Animal studies have reported effects on the blood, liver, and kidneys from chronic inhalation exposure to ethylbenzene. Limited information is available on the carcinogenic effects of ethylbenzene in humans. In a study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), exposure to ethylbenzene by inhalation resulted in an increased incidence of kidney and testicular tumors in rats, and lung and liver tumors in mice.
EPA has classified ethylbenzene as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.