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CAS number : 71-43-2
Benzene, or benzol, is an organic chemical compound with the molecular formula C6H6. It is sometimes abbreviated Ph–H. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet smell and a relatively high melting point. Because it is a known carcinogen, its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes. Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, and may be synthesized from other compounds present in petroleum. Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and the second [n]-annulene (-annulene), a cyclic hydrocarbon with a continuous pi bond.
In the 19th and early-20th centuries, benzene was used as an after-shave lotion because of its pleasant smell. Prior to the 1920s, benzene was frequently used as an industrial solvent, especially for degreasing metal. As its toxicity became obvious, benzene was supplanted by other solvents, especially toluene (methyl benzene), which has similar physical properties but is not as carcinogenic.