Registration Dossier

Administrative data

Description of key information

In studies in rabbits benzene is irritating to the skin and eye but is not considered to be corrosive. In humans high concentrations of benzene vapours are irritating to

the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. Liquid benzene on direct contact with the skin may cause erythema and defatting.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Skin irritation / corrosion

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
adverse effect observed (irritating)

Eye irritation

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
adverse effect observed (irritating)

Respiratory irritation

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Additional information

Non-human information

Skin irritation

The irritation potential of benzene was assessed on the skins of six shaved rabbits exposed to neat benzene for 4 hours, using an exposure chamber of 6 cm2 (Jacobs. 1991). One hour after exposure oedema grade 2 and erythema grade 1 were documented. No oedema, but mean scores of 2.0/2.2/2.4 for erythema were recorded at 24, 48, and 72 hours after the end of exposure. Erythema increased to a mean of grade 3 at 6 days. A second study (Wolf et al, 1956) examined skin irritation potential of benzene following repeated applications. Undiluted benzene was applied 10 -20 times over 2-4 weeks to the ear and shaved abdomen of white rabbits (abdomen bandaged). Perceptible to definite erythema, oedema and superficial necrosis were documented. These effects resulted in a "chapped" appearance and exfoliation of large patches of skin. Although the design and reporting are not compliant with regulatory guidelines the results are consistent with benzene being irritating to rabbit skin.

Eye irritation

The key study is considered to be Wolf et al (1956). Instillation of benzene into the rabbit eye caused moderate conjunctival irritation and very slight, transient corneal injury.

Human information

Skin irritation

Liquid benzene on direct contact with the skin may cause erythema and blistering. Skin contact with benzene removes fat from the tissue which may result in the development of a dry, scaly dermatitis if exposure is repeated or prolonged.

Eye irritation

High concentrations of benzene vapours are irritating to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract (EU RAR, 2008).


Justification for selection of skin irritation / corrosion endpoint:
Liquid benzene is irritating to rabbit skin, and removes fat from the tissue which may result in the development of a dry, scaly dermatitis if exposure is repeated or prolonged.

Justification for selection of eye irritation endpoint:
Liquid benzene is irritating to rabbit eye, causing moderate conjunctival irritation and very slight, transient corneal injury.

Effects on skin irritation/corrosion: irritating

Effects on eye irritation: irritating

Justification for classification or non-classification

It is concluded that benzene is irritating to rabbit skin and should be classified as Xi, R38. Under CLP it is proposed that the appropriate classification is Category 2, H315.

Benzene is irritating to rabbit eyes and should be classified as Xi, R36. Under CLP it is proposed that the appropriate classification is Category 2, H319.