Chemical Fact Sheet

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 106445
CASRN 106-44-5
Phenol, 4-methyl-
Analytical Method EPA Method 8270
Molecular FormulaC7H8O

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 hydroxytoluene (BHT). /Cresols have wide applications in synthetic resin, explosive, petroleum, photographic, paint and agricultural industries
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 ppb . 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 ppm . 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 .

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