Environmental Pollutants Test - Test Items


Seven Commonly Found Toxic Chemicals




Xylene is used as a solvent in the print (in ink), rubber, and leather industries.

Xylene exhibits neurological effects. High levels from exposure for acute or chronic periods can cause headaches, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, confusion, and alterations in body balance Exposure of people to high levels of xylene for short periods can also cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, difficulty in breathing and other problems with the lungs, delayed reaction time, memory difficulties, stomach discomfort, and possibly adverse effects on the liver and kidneys. It can cause unconsciousness and even death at very high levels. Besides occupational exposure, the principal pathway of human contact is via soil contamination from leaking underground storage tanks containing petroleum products. Humans who come into contact with the soil or groundwater may become affected. Use of contaminated groundwater as a water supply could lead to adverse health effects.



Toluene is a clear and aromatic volatile liquid, often used as an important organic solvent. It is widely used as an industrial feedstock in the manufacture of explosive,pesticides dyes, plastic and nylon. It can also be used as an booster in gasoline fuels.

Exposure to Toluene is mainly through inhalation, eating, or absorption through skin. The exposure irritates the skin and mucous membrane and affects central nervous system. Acute poisoning occurs after inhalation of higher concentration of toluene; causes irritating symptoms to eye and upper respiratory tract, other symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death. Long term exposure will cause neurasthenia, mentrual abnormalities, dryness of skin and dermatitis.



Benzene is a highly flammable and aromatic clear liquid, one of the most basic petrochemicals. It is very toxic and carcinogenic. Human and animal’s exposure to benzene has serious health effects.

Benzene affects our central nervous system and causes acute poisoning. Low levels can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. Eating or drinking foods containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, and death.

Benzene contributes to develop neuroasthenia and causes chronic poisoning. Benzene damages the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and depress the immune system, increasing the chance of infection.

It is worth noting that the benzene-bearing preservative in some of the soft drinks will react with Vitamin C to form Benzene.



Styrene is an important material in the manufacture of plastic. The US EPA has described styrene as "a suspected carcinogen" and "a suspected toxin" to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system, among others.



1, 2, 4-Trimethylbenzene dissolved in mineral oil is used as a liquid scintillator. It is also used as a sterilizing agent and in the manufacture of dyes, perfumes, and resins. Another major use is as a gasoline additive.



Phthalates are used in the maufacture of plastics to allow for flexibility and an important component in PVC. Phthalates are used in the manufacture of plastics to allow for flexibility. They are found in everything from makeup to detergents, shampoos to time-released pharmaceutical drugs. Recent researches revealed food is also one of main sources of phthalates.

Phthalic acid esters are well known endocrine disruptors which may cause neurological and developmental disorders. They can interfere with tryptophan metabolism resulting in an increase in quinolinic acid, a pro-inflammatory and neurotoxic compound. Phthalates have also been implicated in abnormal fetal development, especially in male fetuses. US Federal Law has banned tge use of phthaltes in 6 kinds of baby products in 2008. The Peadiatric Medical Magazine pointed out that th baby lotion and shampoo may increase the phthalates concentration found in babies, which may contribute to increasing occurence of allergy and affect babies reproductive health. In 2011, a high concetration of plasticisers is detected in a range of packaged food in Taiwan; the plastcizers found are all from the phthaltes famil.



Parabens are the most commonly used perservatives in personal care products, including cosmetics, skin & hair care products and even baby products It suppresses the microbial growth, thus helps extending the shelf life of these consumer products. Parabens are also commonly used in various kind of plastic and household products, like cell phone, cooking utensils, plastic flooring and detergents.

Parabens are proven to mimic estrogenic and disrupts normal hormonal activity, posing potential damage to the development of reproductive system of male fetuses. Parabens have been detected in certain human breast cancer cell lines; many scientists thus point out that breast cancer is closely related to the exposure to parabens. Denmark is the first European country to ban parabens in lotions and other cosmetic products for children under 3. Researchers reveal that absorption via skin is far more dangerous that that of through eating as skin is the largest organ in our body.