Toluene, also known as toluol, is an aromatic hydrocarbon.Toluene is a common ingredient in degreasers. It’s a colorless liquid with a sweet smell and taste. It evaporates quickly. Toluene is found naturally in crude oil, and is used in oil refining and the manufacturing of paints, lacquers and glues. In homes, toluene may be found in paint thinners, paintbrush cleaners, nail polish, glues, inks and stain removers. Toluene is also found in car exhaust and the smoke from cigarettes.
When toluene is spilled on the ground or improperly disposed of, it can seep into soil and contaminate nearby wells and streams. Toluene can remain unchanged for a long time in soil or water that is not in contact with air.
Applications & Uses
- The major use of toluene is as a mixture added to gasoline to improve octane ratings. Toluene is also used to produce benzene and as a solvent in paints, coatings, synthetic fragrances, adhesives, inks, and cleaning agents.
- Toluene is also used in the production of polymers used to make nylon, plastic soda bottles, and polyurethanes and for pharmaceuticals, dyes, cosmetic nail products, and the synthesis of organic chemicals.