The benzine of the Pharmacopoeia has a specific gravity of 0.638-0.660 at 25° C. and is known commercially as petroleum ether. Commercial benzine has a specific gravity of about 0.746 and commercial gasoline of 0.699 to 0.713. All are spoken of by the producers as "naphtha." Mixtures of commercial benzine and air, containing 2.4 to 4.9 per cent., are explosive. Benzine does not dissolve phenol, but benzene (benzol) does.

Benzine and gasoline are absorbed fairly well through the lungs and with difficulty from the stomach. They are eliminated mostly by the lungs and slightly by the kidneys. In acute poisoning the most notable effect is great congestion with extensive hemorrhages, or edema of the lungs causing suffocative dyspnea and frothy expectoration of thin bloody liquid. There are also congestion of brain, liver, and kidneys, and a cherry red color to the blood resembling that in carbon monoxide poisoning. The treatment is lung ventilation, oxygen, and transfusion of blood. Burgh reported the death in four hours of an eighteen-months-old child after swallowing a little more than an ounce of benzine. Jaffe reports the death of a child twenty-one months old from a mere sip, and complete absence of symptoms in adults from as much as 1 2/3 ounces (50 c.c). Chronic poisoning is believed to result from inhalation of the gas by workers in the distilleries. It leads to connective-tissue changes in lungs, liver and kidneys, and perhaps of other organs.