What is xylene? (with photos)

Xylene-containing paint thinner.

Xylene, also called xylene, dimethyl benzene, violet 3 and methyl toluene, is an isomer that can be found in three forms. It is traditionally used in the leather, rubber and paint industries, primarily as a solvent, cleaning agent and thinner. As it occurs naturally in petroleum, it is not surprising that it is also found in gasoline and jet fuel. It can also be considered a type of narcotic drug as it can be toxic if inhaled.

Xylene is released in cigarette smoke.

Xylene is a colorless, highly flammable liquid. It usually has a sweet smell, with a balm-like scent. It is usually refined through an alkylation process from crude oil, but it can also be done as a by-product of carbonization of coal, extracted from benzol, or through the methylation of toluene.

Xylene can be used in a number of ways. For example, it is sometimes used in the manufacture of some polyester clothing and plastic bottles. In fact, nearly 50% of the xylene produced is used to make polymers used in plastics and polyester. It is also used as a solvent in the paint and rubber industries. Some steel cleaning agents also contain it.

Xylene is found in gasoline, rubber and leather.

If xylene is released into the environment, it will quickly evaporate from surface water and soil into the air. In Earth’s air, sunlight normally breaks it down into less aggressive chemicals, but the process can take several days. In soil, it can be decomposed by selected microorganisms. If the water is contaminated with the chemical, it can accumulate in shellfish, fish, plants and other marine life.

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Xylene can cause eye irritation.

It is possible for people to be exposed to xylene. Since consumer products such as gasoline, anti-rust, varnish and even cigarette smoke contain xylene, it is possible for the chemical to be absorbed into the consumer’s skin or lungs when these products are used. If a food or water source is contaminated with chemicals, exposure is also possible. In fact, many people are exposed through soil contaminated by leaks from oil storage tanks located underground. In addition, people working in the chemical industry can also be exposed.

Exposure to xylene can cause headaches.

There are harmful health effects for people exposed to xylene. Neurological effects such as headaches, dizziness, lack of coordination and confusion may occur. The eyes may also be irritated and some people may experience breathing problems, a slow reaction time and memory failure. If a person inhales a high level of the chemical, it can cause death. It is considered a narcotic, but it is not a controlled substance.

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