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Chemical Fact Sheet

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 100414
CASRN 100-41-4
SynonymsEthylbenzene
Benzene, ethyl
Phenylethane
Analytical Methods EPA Method 502.2
EPA Method 503.1
EPA Method 524.2
EPA Method 602
EPA Method 624
EPA Method 8021
EPA Method 8260
Molecular FormulaC8H10

Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details on this compound.

Use USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF SYNTHETIC RUBBER AS A SOLVENT OR DILUENT, A COMPONENT OF AUTOMOTIVE AND AVIATION FUELS; MFR OF CELLULOSE ACETATE Ethylbenzene is mainly used as a precursor to styrene. SOLVENT-EG, FOR ALKYD SURFACE COATINGS, CHEM INT FOR DIETHYLBENZENE & ACETOPHENONE, FOR ETHYL ANTHRAQUINONE, FOR ETHYLBENZENE SULFONIC ACIDS (O-, M- & P-), FOR PROPYLENE OXIDE & ALPHA-METHYLBENZYL ALCOHOL, UNRECOVERED COMPONENT OF GASOLINE
Consumption Patterns Intermediate for styrene monomer production, more than 99%; the remainder is exported or sold as solvent (1984). Styrene, 97%; Miscellaneous, 3% (1983) Estimate CHEMICAL PROFILE: Ethylbenzene. Intermediate for styrene monomer production, over 99%. The remainder is used in solvent applications. CHEMICAL PROFILE: Ethylbenzene. Demand: 1988: 9,935 million lb; 1989: 10,230 million lb; 1993 projected/: 11,500 million lb. (Imports and exports are both minor, each one on the order of 200 million lb.)
Apparent Color COLORLESS LIQUID
Odor AROMATIC ODOR ; PUNGENT ODOR ; SWEET, GASOLINE-LIKE ODOR
Boiling Point 136.2 DEG C @ 760 MM HG
Melting Point -95 DEG C
Molecular Weight 106.16
Density 0.8670 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEC C
Odor Threshold Concentration 140 ppm Purity not specified 2-2.6 mg/cu m; detection: 0.4 mg/cu m Purity not specified Odor Low: 8.7 mg/cu m, Odor High: 870.0 mg/cu m
Sensitivity Data CHARACTERIZED AS MOST SEVERE IRRITANT OF THE BENZENE SERIES. A concn of 200 ppm causes eye irritation. A concn of 100 ppm for 8 hr caused irritative effects in a human. EXPOSURE TO CONCN OF 5000 PPM 24.6 MG/L CAUSES INTOLERABLE IRRITATION OF EYES, MUCOUS MEMBRANES & NOSE.
Environmental Impact Ethylbenzene will enter the atmosphere primarily from fugitive emissions and exhaust connected with its use in gasoline. More localized sources will be emissions, waste water and spills from its production and industrial use. If ethylbenzene is released to the atmosphere, it exist predominantly in the vapor phase based on its vapor pressure where it will photochemically degrade by reaction with hydroxyl radicals (half-life 0.5 to 2 days) and partially return to earth in rain. It will not be subject to direct photolysis. Releases into water will decrease in concn by evaporation and biodegradation. The time for this decrease and the primary loss processes will depend on the season, and the turbulence and microbial populations in the particular body of water. Representative half-lives are several days to 2 weeks. Some ethylbenzene may be adsorbed by sediment but significant bioconcentration in fish is not expected to occur based upon its octanol/water partition coefficient. Ethylbenzene is only adsorbed moderately by soil. It will not significantly hydrolyze in water or soil. The primary source of exposure is from the air especially in areas high traffic. However, exposure from drinking water is not uncommon.
Environmental Fate TERRESTRIAL FATE; When released onto soil, part of the ethylbenzene will evaporate into the atmosphere. It has a moderate adsorption in soil. While there are no direct data concerning its biodegradability in soil, it is likely that it may biodegrade slowly after acclimation of ambient microorganisms. It will not hyrolyze in soil or groundwater. AQUATIC FATE: When released into water, ethylbenzene will evaporate fairly rapidly into the atmosphere with a half-life ranging from hrs to a few wks. Biodegradation will also be rapid (half-life 2 days) after a population of microorganisms capable of degrading toluene becomes established which will depend on the particular body of water and the temperature. In one study, this acclimation took 2 days and 2 wks in summer and spring, respectively. Some ethylbenzene will be adsorbed by the sediment but significant bioconcentration in fish is not expected to occur based upon its octanol/water partition coefficient. There is evidence that ethylbenzene slowly biodegrades in groundwater. It will not significantly photolyze or hydrolyze. ATMOSPHERIC FATE: If ethylbenzene is released to the atmosphere, it will exist predominantly in the vapor phase based on its vapor pressure . It will be removed from the atmosphere principally by reaction with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals (half-life, 0.5 hr to days). Additional quantities will be removed by rain. It will not be expected to directly photolyze.
Drinking Water Impact DRINKING WATER: In surveys of representative US municipal water supplies, ethylbenzene has been detected in most cases(1,2,4-8,10). Values for 3 New Orleans finished drinking waters ranged 1.6 to 2.3 ppb(6). Chicago Central Water Works on Lake Michigan measured 4 ppb(8). It has been found in the water supply for Evansville, IN on the Ohio River(7). 6 of 10 US cities were found to be positive(1,4). One US city had 1 of 4 samples pos with a 1 ppb avg, while another reported no positive samples . Tap water from bank infiltrated Rhine River water in the Netherlands measured 30 ppb in one study . Zurich, Switzerland tap water - detected not quantified(9). 1982 US groundwater supply survey, random samples of finished water supplies using groundwater as a source, 466 random samples, 0.6%, pos (0.5 ppb detection limit), 0.8 ppb median, 1.1 ppb max(10). GROUNDWATER: A well in Ames, IA measured 15 ppb 50 yr after tar residues were buried at a nearby coal gas plant . Concns of 82-400 ppb were detected in two aquifers near the Hoe Creek underground coal gasification site in Wyoming, 15 mo after gasification was complete . In a US survey, 1970-76, it was detected but not quantified in well waters . In Jackson Township, NJ, drinking water wells measured 2000 ppb . Chalk aquifer in East Anglia, England - 210 m from petroleum storage - 0.15 ppb, 10 m distance - 1110 ppb, and 100-200 m - <250 ppb . SURFACE WATER: Ethylbenzene has been detected but not quantified in a 1970-76 US survey(1,4). 14 heavily industrialized US river basins, 5 of 204 sites pos - 1-4 ppb; Chicago area and Illinois River Basin, 5 of 31 sites pos - 1-4 ppb(6). Two representative US cities, city A - 41% of 28 samples pos, 5.0 ppb avg, city B - 40% of 48 samples pos 3.2 ppb avg . Lower Tennessee River near Calvert City, KY reported 4.0 ppb(7). Lake Michigan, Chicago Sanitary and Ship Channel measured 1-2 ppb . River Glatt, Switzerland -detected, not quantified . USEPA STORET database, 1,101 data points, 10% pos, <5.0 ppb median(8). SEAWATER: Gulf of Mexico, unpolluted areas - 0.4 to 5 ppb(1,3), while an area of anthropogenic influence ranged from 5 to 15 ppb . Cape Cod, MA measured a trace to 22 ppb(2,4) with 11 ppb avg . Concn (parts/trillion) Dutch North Sea coastal waters, 108 samples, not detected (<5)-20, avg 4 . RAIN WATER: West Los Angeles, CA - 9 parts/trillion . Concn (parts/trillion) dissolved in rain, Portland, OR, Feb-April 1984, 7 rain events, 100% pos, 6.9-72, 34 avg . EFFL: Industries with mean raw wastewater concentrations >2000 ppb: gum and wood chemicals (11,000 ppb), pharmaceutical manufacturing (10,000 ppb), paint and ink formulation, and auto and other laundries . Effluents from representative water treatment plants in Southern California were variable <10 ppb at San Diego City to 130 ppb at Los Angeles Co (both measurements following primary treatment) ; <10 ppb detected following secondary treatment . In a US city survey, 17% of 6 samples were positive, 6.0 ppb avg , Lake Michigan, North Side sewage treatment plant - 1 ppb . USEPA STORET database, 1,368 data points, 7.4% pos, <3.0 ppb median . MN municipal solid waste landfills, leachates, 6 sites, 100% pos, 12-820 ppb, contaminated groundwater (by inorganic indices), 13 sites, 61.5% pos, 1.2-590 ppb, other groundwater (apparently not contaminated as indicated by inorganic indices), 7 sites, 14.3% pos, 9.4 ppb avg(6).

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