What is Nitrobenzene?
Nitrobenzene is an industrial chemical. It is an oily yellow liquid with an almond-like odor. It dissolves only slightly in water and will evaporate to air. It is produced in large quantities for use in industry.
Nitrobenzene is used to manufacture aniline, which is a chemical used in the manufacture of polyurethane. Nitrobenzene is also used to produce lubricating oils and in the manufacture of dyes, drugs, pesticides, and synthetic rubber.
Sources & Potential Exposure
Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation, oral, and dermal exposure of humans to nitrobenzene result in effects on the blood (i.e., methemoglobinemia). At low nitrobenzene concentrations, symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dyspnea, headache, and dizziness. At higher concentrations, depressed respiration, bluish-gray skin, disturbed vision, and coma may occur. No information is available on the reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of nitrobenzene in humans. Animal studies indicate that inhalation exposure to nitrobenzene does not result in developmental effects, while reproductive effects, such as a decrease in fertility, reduced testicular weights, and decreased sperm production, have been noted. Nitrobenzene has not been detected in ambient air or in drinking water. Occupational exposure may occur in factories that produce nitrobenzene or use nitrobenzene to produce other products. Exposure may also occur for those persons who live near a waste site where nitrobenzene has been disposed or near a manufacturing or processing plant.
EPA has classified nitrobenzene as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.