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Data: Robust

Toluene

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

SEARCH PRODUCTS

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Persistence and bioaccumulation (moderate), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (high), Ecotoxicology (low), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (high), and Contamination concerns (high)

SYNONYMS

BENZENE, METHYL, BENZENE, METHYL-, METHYL- BENZENE, METHYLBENZENE, TOLUENE, and TOLUOL

A volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner, toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In human epidemiological studies and in animal studies toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • LOW
    Cancer
  • MODERATE
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • MODERATE
    Developmental and Reingredientive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

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nail polish2 products

Contamination concerns

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Chemical
BENZENE

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of industry recommendations - Unsafe for use in cosmeticsInternational Fragrance Association Codes & Standards
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyCosIng
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Restrictions on impurities recommended by industry safety panelCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human respiratory toxicantEPA Hazardous Air Pollutants
Classified as expected to be toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Limited evidence of kidney toxicityScorecard.org Toxicity Information
Limited evidence of gastrointestinal or liver toxicityNational Library of Medicine HazMap
One or more animal studies show classified as toxic effects at moderate doses (low dose studies may be unavailable for this ingredient)EPA Toxic Release Inventory PBTs
One or more animal studies show any effects at moderate doses (low dose studies may be unavailable for this ingredient)EPA Categorized List of Inert Pesticide Ingredients
Classified as a low human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
reproductive - weight of evidence unknown/unassessed/unreview: published lit review or major tox studyNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as skin irritantCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling
Human any irritant - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Occupational hazards

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Allowed workplace exposures restricted to low dosesCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling
Allowed workplace exposures restricted to moderate dosesCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Possible human developmental toxicantCalifornia EPA Proposition 65
Human developmental toxicant - strong evidenceScorecard.org Toxicity Information
Limited evidence of reproductive toxicityNational Library of Medicine HazMap
Limited evidence of reproductive toxicityScorecard.org Toxicity Information

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Persistent or bioaccumulative and moderate to high toxicity concern in humansEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited evidence of immune system toxicity or allergiesScorecard.org Toxicity Information

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Wildlife and environmental toxicityEPA Clean Water Act - Priority Pollutants
Suspected to be an environmental toxin and be persistent or bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Considered safe based on assumption of low absorptionCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Insufficient data to determine safetyEPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
17631 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Miscellaneous

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Occupational hazards related to handlingCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited or incomplete evidence of cancer according to safety/hazard data – government assessment cannot classify as human carcinogen due to data gapsEPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
Limited or incomplete evidence of cancer according to safety/hazard data – government assessment cannot classify as human carcinogen due to data gapsInt'l Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Carcinogens

Neurotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
nervous system - weight of evidence unknown/unassessed/unreview: published lit review or major tox studyNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - anyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
  • IFRA (International Fragrance Association). 2006. Codes and Standards.
  • European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2005. Office of Air. The 112(b)1 Hazardous Air Pollutants List (as modified). Last modified: 12 Dec 2005.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • ED (Environmental Defense). 2006. Scorecard _ The Pollution Information Site. http://www.scorecard.org.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1999. Toxics Release Inventory Program. PBT Chemical Rule.
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1987 & 2005. Office of Pesticide Programs. Inert (other) Pesticide Ingredients in Pesticide Products - Categorized List of Inert (other) Pesticide Ingredients.
  • CPS&Q (Consumer Products Safety & Quality) formely known as ECB (European Chemicals Bureau). 2008. Classification and Labelling: Chemicals: Annex VI of Directive 67/548/EEC through the 31st ATP.
  • California EPA (California Environmental Protection Agency). 9/2008. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2008. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Evidence for human carcinogenicity based on 1986-2005 guidelines.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). 2008. Overall Evaluations of Carcinogenicity to Humans, as evaluated in IARC Monographs Volumes 1-99 (a total of 935 agents, mixtures and exposures).

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

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