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Latest Edit: Iva 2012-08-04 (EDT)

Xylene is one of many toxic environmental chemicals. Xylene is a natural component of petroleum and coal tar. It is used as motor and aviation fuel additive. The most common source of exposure if by inhalation of vapors.


  • Automotive emissions, poor emission-control devices on older vehicles, poor maintenance practices, aviation fuel, waste and landfill sites, localized industrial discharges and spillage incidents, tobacco smoke.
  • Household: topical contact or inhalation of varnish/polishers, paint, paint thinner, paint remover, shellac, rust preventatives, lacquers, inks, dyes, adhesives, cleaning fluids, degreasing agents, household cleaning products.
  • Used as a solvent for rubbers, synthetic resins, gums, inks, paint.
  • Fabric and leather treatments.
  • Used in the synthesis of plasticizers and in the manufacture of polyester fiber, film, insecticide formulations, and perfumes.
  • Industry: paint and printing ink industries, automobile body and related repairs, photographic processing, rubber, leather, plastics and textile industries, flooring contractor.



  • Metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P-450 dependent multifunction oxidase enzymes. It is conjugated principally with glycine and excreted in the urine as methylhippuric acids. Conjugation with sulfate or glucuronic acid represents a minor pathway.
  • Monitoring can be done through urinary levels of 2 or 3-methylhippurate. Although the 2-isomer exhibits a longer half-life, the 3-isomer is the principle component making up 45-70% of commercial xylene.
  • Does not accumulate in bodily tissues.