1,3-Dinitrobenzene and 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene are synthetic substances
that are used in explosives. Both substances are yellow crystal-like solids
at room temperature. They may exist in air in very small amounts as dust
or a vapor, and can dissolve in certain liquids. If either substance is
put under very high heat, it will explode. They have no odor
Fate & Transport
Both compounds are likely to break down in air, water, and soil very
slowly. Both compounds are slightly soluble in water. 1,3-Dinitrobenzene evaporates slowly from water; 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene
does not evaporate from water. Neither compound sticks to soil strongly, so both can move through
soil into groundwater. These compounds are not likely to build up in fish or people.
If you live or work near a military ammunitions plant or other chemical
manufacturer, you may be exposed to these compounds by drinking contaminated
water, eating contaminated food, breathing contaminated air, or touching
or eating contaminated soil.
Waste discharges from military ammunitions plants or other chemical manufacturers
are the primary sources for release of both compounds to air, water, and
1,3-Dinitrobenzene and 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene are suspected to cause
similar health effects. Exposure to high concentrations of 1,3-dinitrobenzene
can reduce the ability of blood to carry oxygen and can cause your skin
to become bluish in color.
If you are exposed to 1,3-dinitrobenzene for a long time, you can develop
a reduction (or loss) in the number of red blood cells (anemia). Other
symptoms of 1,3-dinitrobenzene exposure include headache, nausea, and dizziness.
We do not know if there are any long-term health effects from exposure
to 1,3-dinitrobenzene or 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene. We also do not know if
these chemicals cause birth defects in humans.
Results of studies in animals show that effects of 1,3-dinitrobenzene
and 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene on the blood are similar to the effects seen
in people. Results from animal studies also show some other effects of
1,3-dinitrobenzene exposure, such as behavioral changes and male reproductive
We do not know if these compounds can cause birth defects
in animals. We do not know if the effects seen in animals could also occur
The EPA has determined that these compounds are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity in humans. This
is because the ability of these compounds to produce cancer has not been studied in humans or animals.
There is no routine medical test to show if you have been exposed to
1,3-dinitrobenzene or 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene. Tests have been used to detect
1,3-dinitrobenzene and its breakdown products in blood and urine of exposed
animals, but these tests have not been used for people.
The EPA requires that spills or accidental releases into the environment
of 100 pounds or more of 1,3-dinitrobenzene, and 10 pounds or
more of 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene, must be reported to the EPA.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates levels
of 1,3-dinitrobenzene in the workplace. The maximum allowable amount of
1,3-dinitrobenzene in workroom air during an 8-hour workday, 40-hour workweek,
is 1 milligram per cubic meter (1 mg/m3).
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and
the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) also
recommend an exposure limit of 1 mg/m3 1,3-dinitrobenzene
in workplace air over a 40-hour workweek.
Information excerpted from
Toxicological Profile for 1,3-Dinitrobenzene and 1,3,5-Trinitrobenzene
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
United States Public Health Service