Agent Name
Alternative Name
CAS Number
Major Category
n-Hexane formula graphical representation
Hexyl hydride; normal-Hexane; Hexane; [NIOSH] Hexanes; Dipropyl; Esani [Italian]; Gettysolve-B; Heksan [Polish]; Hexanen [Dutch]; Skellysolve B; [ChemIDplus] UN1208
Aliphatics, Saturated (<C12)
Colorless liquid with a gasoline-like odor; [NIOSH]
Used as a solvent, especially in the adhesive and shoe industries; abused by glue sniffers for its euphoric effects; [LaDou, p. 430] Used in shoe and furniture manufacture to dissolve glue; also used in adhesive tape manufacturing; [Sullivan, p. 1211] Fuels made from petroleum contain n-hexane. Modern blends of US gasoline contain about 3% n-hexane. [ATSDR ToxProfiles] Used as a solvent for vegetable oils, polymers, and paints; [Hawley] Used as a degreaser by vehicle repair technicians in a commercially available aerosol containing toluene, acetone, and hexane (50% n-hexane); [Reference #2] Used for determining refractive index of minerals, filling for thermometers (instead of mercury), for calibrations, as reaction medium for polymerizations and pharmaceutical manufacture, alcohol denaturant, as cleaning agent in textile, furniture, and leather industries, and as laboratory reagent; [HSDB]
Acute exposure to 5000 ppm produces giddiness within 10 minutes and 30,000 ppm produces narcosis within 30-60 minutes. [ACGIH] Peripheral neuropathy is the main long-term adverse effect, and it has been observed after exposures in the range of 400 ppm for 45 days or 30 ppm for 2 months to 5 years. [CHEMINFO] n-Hexane is in the list of "Some volatile substances which may be abused by inhalation" published on the web site of the U.N. International Drug Control Programme, indicating its potential to cause narcosis in workers. [Reference #1] Vehicle repair technicians developed peripheral neuropathy while using an aerosol cleaner containing hexane, acetone, and toluene. Acetone and methyl ethyl ketone amplify the neurotoxicity of n-Hexane. [Reference #2] A skin irritant; Ingestion can cause aspiration into the lungs; Inhalation may cause lowering of consciousness; Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause polyneuropathy; May have adverse effects on human reproduction, based on animal studies; [ICSC] A skin and eye irritant; Inhalation may cause drowsiness or dizziness; An aspiration hazard by ingestion (may cause lung injury); Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause organ injury; Suspected reproductive toxicant and teratogen; Targets the peripheral nervous system, kidney, and testes; [Sigma-Aldrich MSDS]
Reference Link #1
Biomedical References

Exposure Assessment

2,5-Hexanedione (without hydrolysis) in urine = 0.5 mg/L end of shift;
Skin Designation (ACGIH)
50 ppm
500 ppm
50 ppm
1100 ppm
Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs
It has been reported that a 10­minute exposure to 5,000 ppm caused dizziness and a sensation of giddiness.
Vapor Pressure
153 mm Hg
Odor Threshold Low
65 ppm
Odor Threshold High
248 ppm
Lethal Concentration
LC50 (rat) = 77,000 ppm/1 hr
Explanatory Notes
IDLH = 10% of LEL (lower explosive limit); Odor threshold from AIHA; Flash point = -7 deg F; [CHEMINFO] VP from HSDB;
Half Life
Urine (2,5-hexanedione): 15 hours; blood: 2-3 hours; fat: 64 hours; [TDR, p. 769]
may ignite at ambient temp

Adverse Effects

Acute solvent syndrome

Diseases, Processes, and Activities Linked to This Agent


Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Activities with risk of exposure: