Summary

• Toluene is well absorbed by inhalation and ingestion, but less so dermally

• The target organ of toxicity is the CNS

• The mechanism of toxicity is unknown

• Acute exposure results in respiratory irritation and CNS depression

• Death may occur due to hypoxia or cardiac arrhythmia

• Chronic abuse of toluene causes slowly progressive multifocal CNS dysfunction

• Renal tubular acidosis and severe electrolyte imbalance have been reported from chronic abuse

• Urinary concentrations of hippuric acid may be used for biomonitoring

• Toluene is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans

• It is not mutagenic or genotoxic

• Fetal abnormalities have been reported with toluene abuse during pregnancy

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