Definition

An antiseptic and disinfectant aromatic alcohol. Used as a flavouring agent in a few foods, at maximum levels below 10 ppm Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl (-C6H5), bonded to a hydroxyl (-OH) group. It is produced on a large scale (about 7 billion kg/year) as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds. (Wikipedia) The major uses of phenol involve its conversion to precursors for plastics. It's an ingredient that helps produce BPA (bisphenol-A) and nylon. Phenol is used as an oral anesthetic/analgesic in products such as Chloraseptic or other brand name and generic equivalents, commonly used to temporarily treat sore throat.

Description

Phenol, is a toxic, colourless crystalline solid with a sweet tarry odor that resembles a hospital smell. It is commonly used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is active against a wide range of micro-organisms including some fungi and viruses, but is only slowly effective against spores. It has been used to disinfect skin and to relieve itching. Phenol is also used in the preparation of cosmetics including sunscreens, hair dyes, and skin lightening preparations. It is also used in the production of drugs (it is the starting material in the industrial production of aspirin), weedkillers, and synthetic resins. Phenol can be found in areas with high levels of motor traffic, therefore, people living in crowded urban areas are frequently exposed to traffic-derived phenol vapor. The average (mean +/- SD) phenol concentration in urine among normal individuals living in urban areas is 7.4 +/- 2.2 mg/g of creatinine. Exposure of the skin to concentrated phenol solutions causes chemical burns which may be severe; in laboratories where it is used, it is usually recommended that polyethylene glycol solution is kept available for washing off splashes. Notwithstanding the effects of concentrated solutions, it is also used in cosmetic surgery as an exfoliant, to remove layers of dead skin (Wikipedia). In some bacteria phenol can be directly synthesized from tyrosine via the enzyme tyrosine phenol-lyase [EC:4.1.99.2].

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