Agent Name
Alternative Name
CAS Number
Major Category
Other Uses
2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene formula graphical representation
1-Methyl-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene; Trinitrotoluene; sym-Trinitrotoluene; Trinitrotoluol; TNT; [NIOSH]
Colorless to pale-yellow, odorless solid or crushed flakes; [NIOSH]
An explosive that requires "a high-velocity initiator or efficient concussion" to detonate; [ACGIH]
Toxic hepatitis, aplastic anemia, methemoglobinemia, hemolytic anemia, and cataracts have been reported after occupational exposure. In one case, 43% methemoglobinemia was induced after 24 hours from an inhalation and skin exposure. Exposed workers experienced sneezing, sore throat and skin irritation. In a munitions plant with mean air levels of 2.38 mg/m3, no fatalities or permanent liver damage were reported in workers handling TNT over a period of 20 years. Abnormal liver function tests were found in a study of 43 TNT shell-packers and shell-loaders during a 5-month period in which dust level ranged from 0.3 to 0.8 mg/m3. Hemolytic anemia has been described in workers with a genetic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Reduced hemoglobin values were seen with exposures as low as 0.48 mg/m3. Cataracts were induced in 6 of 12 workers exposed at 0.14 to 0.58 mg/m3 for 6.8 [+/-] 4.7 years and in 7 of 9 workers exposed at 0.10 to 0.35 mg/m3 for 1 to 27 years (average of 14 years). Listed in the table "Examples of Industrial Chemicals for Which Methemoglobin Formation is NOT the Principal Cause of Toxicity"; [ACGIH] May stain the skin yellow and cause dermatitis; Other potential adverse effects are methemoglobinemia, hemolysis, liver injury, and jaundice. [ICSC]
Biomedical References

Exposure Assessment

Methemoglobin in blood = 1.5% of hemoglobin during or end of shift. [ACGIH]
Skin Designation (ACGIH)
0.1 mg/m3, inhalable fraction and vapor
1.5 mg/m3
500 mg/m3
Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs
Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: Most of the data reported in the literature about trinitrotoluene (TNT) poisoning concern the effects caused by chronic exposures. The available toxicological data contain no evidence that an acute exposure to a high concentration of TNT would impede escape or cause irreversible health effects within 30 minutes. . . . Basis for revised IDLH: No inhalation toxicity data are available on which to base an IDLH for 2,4,6­trinitrotoluene. Therefore, the revised IDLH for 2,4,6­trinitrotoluene is 500 mg/m3 based on acute oral toxicity data in humans [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969] and animals [Dilley et al. 1982; MRC 1921]
Vapor Pressure
8.02E-06 mm Hg
Explanatory Notes
The Guide from the Emergency Response Guidebook is for "TNT, wetted with not less than 10% water."
burn readily

Adverse Effects

Aplastic anemia
MetHgb is secondary toxic effect
Occupational hepatotoxin (principal effect)
IARC Carcinogen
Not classifiable

Diseases, Processes, and Activities Linked to This Agent


Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent: