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Description of key information

Information available from human reports and animal studies indicate ethylbenzene is moderately irritating to eye, skin and respiratory tract.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

The information available in humans suggests that high exposures of ethylbenzene vapour may be irritating to mucous membranes of the eye, nose and respiratory tract (Yant et al., 1930).

Ethylbenzene is moderately irritating to the skin of rabbits after single exposure (Smyth et al., 1962). After repeated exposure it caused definite erythema and development of oedema and superficial necrosis, resulting in a "chapped" appearance and exfoliation of large patches of skin (Wolf et al., 1956).

Ethylbenzene caused grade 2-3 injury of the eyes of rabbits out of a scale of 10 based on the degree of corneal necrosis after instillation of various amounts and concentrations of chemical. The authors stated state that a compound listed with grade 3 or higher would be capable of causing severe corneal injury when a sufficient amount enters the eye (Carpenter et al., 1946; Union Carbide, 1946; Smyth et al., 1962). With a test method close to present days’ procedures slight conjunctival irritation without corneal injury was found (Wolf et al., 1956)In guinea pigs exposure to 5000 and 10000 ppm of ethylbenzene vapour produced immediate and intense irritation of the conjunctiva, while 2000 ppm caused moderate eye and nose irritation within 1 minute (Yant et al., 1930).

In different strains of mice RD50 of 1432 (De Ceaurriz et al., 1981)or 4060 (Nielsen and Alarie, 1982) ppm were determined for sensory irritation. Repeated exposure studies in rats and mice found clinical signs indicative of respiratory tract irritation in rats and mice at 400 ppm and higher exposures ( Biodynamics, 1986a; Cragg et al., 1989). 

After reviewing this information, the Committee for Risk Assessment concluded that no classification for skin, eye or respiratory tarct irritation was necessary for ethylbenzene (RAC, 2012b).

RAC (2012) Annex 2: Response to comments document (RCOM) to the Opinion proposing harmonised classification and labelling at EU level of ethylbenzene. ECHA/RAC/CLH-O-0000001542-81-03/A2. Committee for Risk Assessment, adopted 5 June 2012.

 



Effects on skin irritation/corrosion: moderately irritating

Effects on eye irritation: moderately irritating

Effects on respiratory irritation: irritating

Justification for classification or non-classification

In animal experiments moderate irritation of the skin and eyes has been observed in rabbits. There were no indications for corrosive effects or burns on these tissues. Respiratory tract irritation after inhalation of high concentrations were described in humans and in mice. At a lower concentration of about 100 ppm there was an indication for subjective sensory irritation in sensitive humans (self-reported Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) and in repeated animal exposure experiments signs indicative of irritation were observed at concentrations of 400 ppm and above.

 

After reviewing this information, the Committee for Risk Assessment concluded that no classification for skin, eye or respiratory tarct irritation was necessary for ethylbenzene (RAC, 2012b).

RAC (2012) Annex 2: Response to comments document (RCOM) to the Opinion proposing harmonised classification and labelling at EU level of ethylbenzene. ECHA/RAC/CLH-O-0000001542-81-03/A2. Committee for Risk Assessment, adopted 5 June 2012

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