|Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #)||
||EPA Method 8270 |
Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details
on this compound.
|Use|| CHEM INT FOR TRICRESYL PHOSPHATE & CRESYL DIPHENYL PHOSPHATE;
AGENT IN PRODN OF DISINFECTANTS, EXPLOSIVES, & SYNTHETIC PERFUMERY
MATERIALS; METAL CLEANING AGENT; SOLVENT FOR WIRE ENAMELS; AGENT IN
ORE FLOTATION; MONOMER FOR PHENOLIC RESINS
IN SYNTHETIC FLAVOR
Organic sulfur is removed from coal by extraction with p-cresol
Para-cresol is used to produce 2,6-di-tertiary-butyl-para-cresol, also known as butylated
/Cresols have wide applications in synthetic resin, explosive, petroleum, photographic, paint and
|Apparent Color|| CRYSTALS; PRISMS; COLORLESS; WHITE CRYSTALS; CRYSTALLINE
|Odor|| PHENOLIC ODOR; Tarlike odor
|Boiling Point|| 201.9 DEG C
|Melting Point|| 34.8 DEG C
|Molecular Weight|| 108.13
|Density|| 1.0178 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEG C
|Odor Threshold Concentration|| 0.2 ppm recognition in air; 0.46 ppb detection in air.
|Sensitivity Data|| Fairly severe skin irritant.
|Environmental Impact|| p-Cresol is released to the atmosphere in auto and diesel exhaust, during coal tar
refining, wood pulping and during its use in manufacturing, and metal refining. Wastewater from
these industries as well as from municipal wastewater plants contain p-cresol. When released to
the atmosphere, p-cresol will react with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals during the
day (half-life 10 hr) and react with nitrate radicals at night (half-life 4 min). It will also be
scavenged by rain. Biodegradation is expected to be the dominant loss mechanism when p-cresol
is released into water. Volatilization, bioconcentration in fish, and adsorption to sediment will be
unimportant and photolysis is only expected to be significant in surface waters of oligotrophic
lakes. Experimental half-lives are only a few hours in eutrophic lakes and ponds but this may be
preceeded by an acclimation period ranging from hours to days. Half-lives in an oligotrophic lake,
marine waters, and in water/sediment ecocores were 6, <4, and <2 days, respectively. Its fate in
soil has not been extensively studied; it is mobile and will probably biodegrade. Human exposure
will primarily be via inhalation in the workplace or in source areas.
|Environmental Fate|| TERRESTRIAL FATE: p-Cresol is poorly adsorbed to soil and, therefore, should leach
extensively. It biodegrades rapidly in water and while there is evidence that it also biodegrades in
soil, rate data is lacking.
AQUATIC FATE: A one-compartment computer model for p-cresol predicts that following an
acute discharge, the half-life would be 0.55 hr in a river, 12 hr in a pond or eutrophic lake and
2400 hr in an oligotrophic lake . Biodegradation is predicted to be the dominant transformation
process in eutrophic waters, but four times slower than photolysis in oligotrophic waters. Dilution
is more important than biodegradation in rivers. Sorption and volatilization are unimportant in all
waters . While photolysis is catalyzed by the presence of humic acids, there are no experiments
that evaluate whether this process is important in some eutrophic waters. These model results are
not entirely in agreement with experiments, where degradation half-lives were only a few hours in
eutrophic waters but may be preceeded by a lag period ranging from hours to days and where
degradation occurred in an oligotrophic lakes in 6 days. In addition half-lives in marine waters
were 9-43 hr. In marine or freshwater/sediment ecocores degradation is complete in a few days.
Degradation is much slower under anaerobic conditions - weeks instead of hours in screening
studies. However in the only study in a natural system, no mineralization occurred in 29 weeks in
anaerobic lake sediment.
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: The photochemical half-life of p-cresol during the daytime is 10 hr
while at night it is 4 min. The dominant reactions are with hydroxyl radical during daylight hours
and with nitrate radicals at night. Daytime half-lives will be reduced under smog conditions.
p-Cresol is highly soluble in water and it will be scavenged from the atmosphere by rain(1,SRC).
|Drinking Water Impact|| SURFACE WATER: Lower Tennessee River below Calvert City, KY - 200 ppb in
water/sediment sample . Hayashida River in Tatsumo City Japan - site of leather industry 204
GROUND WATER: Hoe Creek underground coal gasification site, WY - 2 aquifers 15 mo after
gasification complete 9.6-16000 ppb Landfill groundwater, Norman, OK 14.6 ppb .
Detected, not quantified in ground water . Ground water in a sand aquifer at a wood-preserving
facility in Pensacola, Florida (5 sites, 5 depths) 0-6.17 ppm . Southington CT landfill site 1.5
RAIN/SNOW: Portland, OR - seven rain events 380-2000 parts per trillion, >1100 parts per
trillion, mean dissolved in rain .
EFFL: Detected, not quantified in air emanating from sedimentation tank of water treatment
plant . Effluents from refineries, petrochemical and metallurgical industries, municipal
wastewater plants and polluted fjords in Norway (28 samples) 71% frequency of appearance .
Identified in finished water from advanced waste treatment plants . p-Cresol was confirmed in
10 of 4000 effluent samples in a broad survey covering 46 industrial catagories . It was found in
effluents from timber products, leather tanning, organics and plastics, textile mills, rubber
processing, auto and other laundries, electronics, mechanical products, synfuels, and publicly
owned treatment works .