Yvonne Liu
Block D





Brief Description

- Colorless(or light yellow) & Flammable Liquid with a sweet odor and a high melting point
- Evaporates in Air quickly (vapor is heavier than air)
- Will float in water (only a little dissolves)
- Natural Constituent of Crude Oil
- Ranks top 20 chemicals for production volume
- Benzene is also known as Benzol


In 1825, Micheal Faraday experimented on a number of distillations(crude oil). Out of curiosity he set alight the gas and it burned.
For a while he only knew this as "Bicarburet of Hydrogen"
In 1846, A.W. Hoffman isolated the same product(later called benzene) in a large quantity of distilled coal.
For a long time Coal was the only way for benzene to be extracted. But as oil was more known the importance had increased.
In 1865, August Kekulé proposed a hexagonal structure with an atom of Carbon and one of Hydrogen at each corner with alternate double and single bonds between carbon atoms. After his new theory, it was proclaimed as "the most brilliant piece of scientific production to be found in the whole of Organic Chemistry"
Benzene had become one of the first chemical in history to be studied by Chemists.


Benzene was originally produced as a by-product in production of coke for steel.

Natural Resources
- Volcanoes
- Forest Fires
- Crude Oil
- Gasoline
- Cigarette smoke

external image volcano_hawaii_kilauea_Puu_oo.jpg

external image san-bernardino-.jpg

Other items containing Benzene

- Plastics
- Resine
- Nylon
- Synthetic Fibers
- some lubricants, rubber, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides
external image plastic-bottles1.jpgexternal image 444.jpg

Outdoor Exposures

external image shellgasstation.jpgexternal image industrial05.jpg

Low Levels of:
- air
- tobacco
- gas station
- motor vehicles exhaust
- industrial emissions

Indoor Exposures

Higher levels than the outdoors:
- Glue
- Paint
- Furniture wax
- Detergents

Immediate signs & Symptoms

For people who breath in a lot of benzene can have effect in a few minutes to a few hours:
- Drowsiness
- Dizziness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Headaches
- Tremors
- Confusion
- Unconsciousness
- Death (if very high levels)
Eating/drinking things containing high amounts of Benzene can:
- Vomiting
- Irritation of Stomach
- Dizziness
- Sleepiness
- Convulsions
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Death

Long Term Effects(a year or more)

- Effects on the Blood
- harmful effects to the bone marrow (decrease in red blood cells; can lead to anemia)
- Can cause excessive bleeding
- Effects the immune system
- Can have irregular menstrual period
- Can cause cancer and leukemia


"Facts about Benzene". may 2010 <http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp>.
Nelson, Caterina. "how is benzene produced ". may 2010 <http://www.ehow.com/about_6386518_benzene-produced_.html>.
"Benzene History ". may 2010 <http://benzene.ws/benzene-history/>.
Chaudary , Fozia. "Benzene". may 2010 <http://www.chem.yorku.ca/hall_of_fame/essays97/benzene/benzene.htm>.