In man, benzyl alcohol (BA) was a skin irritant and sensitizer, and produced local anaesthesia when applied to the skin and eyes. A number of adverse effects including abnormal breathing, neurological deterioration, liver and kidney failure and death have been reported in preterm infants receiving fluids containing BA via a catheter.

In laboratory animals, BA was a skin and eye irritant and a skin sensitizer. It was of low to moderate acute toxicity by the oral route in rodents and rabbits, and by inhalation in rats. Central nervous system effects were seen in rodents treated orally or by injection. Reduced birth weight and decreased growth were seen in the pups of mice given BA by stomach tube during pregnancy. No evidence of carcinogenicity was seen in rats and mice given BA orally for 2 yr. In Ames bacterial tests, no evidence of mutagenicity was detected, although it caused DNA damage in other bacteria, and chromosomal damage in mammalian cells in culture.

Date of Publication: 1991

Number of Pages: 6

CAS Number*: 100-51-6

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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