The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, a public health I agency of the Department of Health and Human Services) provides the following definition for chlorobenzene: “Chlorobenzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with an aromatic, almond-like odor. Some of it will dissolve in water, but it readily evaporates into air. It does not occur naturally in the environment.” The most likely exposure to humans occurs in the workplace where the chemical is manufactured or used in a process. However, exposure can also occur by drinking groundwater contaminated with the substance, inhaling chemical vapors released into the air, or touching contaminated soils.
Health effects have been documented through the use of animal studies. The ATSDR reports the following: “Effects on the central nervous system from breathing chlorobenzene include unconsciousness, tremors, restlessness, and death. Longer exposure has caused liver and kidney damage.”
Chlorobenzenes have been found at 97 of the 1 177 National Priorities List sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that approximately 48,768 pounds of chemicals were removed from the Eastland Woolen Mill site and another 10,000 pounds removed from 100,000 tons of contaminated soil.