Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and one of the primary chemical building blocks for the petrochemical industry. Its key characteristic is its unique six-carbon ring. At room temperature, benzene is a clear, colorless liquid with a sweet odor, which is why it is called an aromatic hydrocarbon. Benzene is found naturally in crude oil at low levels and is commercially produced via synthesis from petroleum-based raw materials, such as naphtha, gasoil, ethane, propane, butane, toluene, etc. It is also commercially produced from coal. Benzene is a known carcinogen, so its presence in gasoline is regulated in most major gasoline-consuming countries. Benzene’s presence in other consumer product applications, such as solvents and sealants, was essentially eliminated by reformulation and substitution many years ago. Benzene is used as a primary chemical building block in the production of other intermediate chemicals, including ethylbenzene (EB)/styrene, cumene/phenol, cyclohexane, nitrobenzene/aniline, maleic anhydride, alkylbenzene, chlorobenzene, and other industrial chemicals. These chemicals are used to produce a myriad of end-use products, including disposable food packaging containers and films; fibers for clothing and fabric; filaments for floor coverings (carpet) and furnishings (upholstery); synthetic rubbers (e.g., tires); belts, hoses, and plastic parts for automotive and appliance applications; clear plastic applications, including eye glasses and bullet-resistant glass; circuit boards; detergents; herbicides; pesticides; and dyes.


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