Around 99% of ethyl benzene (EB) produced in Europe is used in the production of styrene monomer, which is then used in many homopolymer, copolymer and terpolymer applications. These applications cover a wide scope of industrial, consumer and medical products. EB is also used for solvents for coatings and for other minor applications.
EB is produced by the catalytic alkylation of benzene with ethylene, or from mixed xylenes by isomer separation and catalytic isomerisation, or from 1,3-butadiene in a two-step process where the butadiene is converted to vinylcyclohexane which is then dehydrogenated.
EB is a colourless liquid, with a pungent aromatic odour. It is practically insoluble in water but soluble in ethyl alcohol, ether and benzene.
Short term health effects are drowsiness, fatigue, headache and mild eye and respiratory irritation. Long-term, EB has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL : damage to the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and eyes.
To find out more Ethylbenzene Methodology July 2013