Toluene is a colorless, flammable, refractive liquid with a sweet, pungent odor that occurs naturally in crude oil. Sources of exposure include automobile exhaust, gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, nail polish, rubber cement, paints, paintbrush cleaners, stain removers, fabric dyes, inks, and adhesives. Health effects of long-term exposure include tiredness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea and loss of appetite, and hearing loss. Repeated exposure to high levels may cause permanent brain, speech and kidney damage, vision and hearing problems, loss of muscle control, imbalance, memory loss and decreased mental ability. Exposure to high toluene levels in a short time period may cause light-headedness, dizziness, sleepiness, unconsciousness or death.
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