Benzene – What Is It?
The Department of Health & Human Services has labeled benzene as a known human carcinogen – a chemical or physical agent that causes cancer. Benzene is a highly flammable, colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It is evaporates very quickly into air and is slightly soluble in water. Furthermore, Benzene is found in by-products of combustion such as, volcanoes, forest fires, vehicle emissions and cigarette smoke. As a natural component of crude oil, Benzene is primarily manufactured from coal and petroleum.
Benzene is the 17th most abundantly produced chemical in the US. Benzene is used as a raw material in the production of many materials and products including styrene, some rubbers, lubricants, dyes, drugs, synthetic detergents, explosives, insecticides, fumigants, solvents, paint removers, and gasoline. Because Benzene is also a by-product of the coking process during steel production.