Nitrobenzene (chemical formula: C6H5NO2), appears as either yellow crystals or a yellow to brown oily liquid. It has an odour similar to shoe polish or almond. Nitrobenzene is soluble in alcohol, acetone, benzene and ether, but it is only slightly soluble in water.
Almost all industrially produced nitrobenzene is used to manufacture aniline—a solvent used in metal and shoe polish.
Nitrobenzene is also used to produce dyes, pesticides, lubricating oils, synthetic rubbers, leather dressings, pesticides and pharmaceuticals (including in paracetamol).
The routes of exposure for nitrobenzene include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact.
Inhalation of nitrobenzene may produce respiratory discomfort and distress. The risk of inhalation increases at higher temperatures.
Ingestion of less than 40 grams of nitrobenzene may cause death. Symptoms of ingestion may include euphoria, flushed face, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lethargy as well as the lips, nose and ears turning blue.
Skin contact with is not thought to cause irritation, however systemic effects may follow as a result of absorption.
Eye exposure can cause discomfort characterised by tearing and temporary redness.
If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay them down and ensure they are kept warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, administer CPR (with a bag-valve mask preferably). Seek medical attention without delay.
If swallowed, urgent hospital treatment is likely to be required. If medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, inducing vomiting is advised. The patient must be leaned forward or placed on their side to ensure their airways are open and aspiration is prevented. The patient should be sent to the hospital along with a copy of the SDS to ensure they receive the appropriate medical treatment.
If skin exposure occurs, quickly wipe the chemical off the skin before flushing the affected skin and hair with running water. Seek medical attention.
If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids—this should continue for at least 15 minutes. Contact lenses should be removed by a skilled professional. Seek medical attention without delay.
Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants (install local exhaust if necessary).
The PPE recommended when handling nitrobenzene includes safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, half face respirators, overalls, safety boots and PVC gloves. A skin barrier and cleansing cream is also recommended in the event of skin exposure.
When handling nitrobenzene, always ensure you check the SDS to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our chemicals management solutions.