Coal Tar Creosote

CAS RN: 8001-58-9

Health Effects

    • A) USES: Phenol (also known as carbolic acid and phenic acid) is used in the treatment of localized skin disorders and as a local anesthetic. Dilute phenol solutions have been injected for celiac plexus nerve blocks. It is also used extensively in the manufacture of many other chemicals and drugs, as a dye and indicator, antiseptic, disinfectant, a reagent in chemical analysis, and a preservative for pharmaceuticals.
    • B) PHARMACOLOGY: A phenol achieves its affect via several mechanisms.
    • C) TOXICOLOGY: In concentrations of 5% or greater, it rapidly denatures all proteins it contacts. Some phenols, notably dinitrophenol or hydroquinone, will cause methemoglobinemia. There is also some thought that it may cause increased acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction causing CNS stimulatory effects.
    • D) EPIDEMIOLOGY: Calls to poison centers concerning phenol are relatively rare, but many workers in various industries may be exposed to low levels of phenol. Severe manifestations and deaths are very rare.
      • 1) MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Exposure causes irritation to the affected tissue (eg, skin, mucous membranes) and discoloration.
      • 2) SEVERE TOXICITY: Phenol toxicity occurs most frequently after acute ingestion or chronic dermal application. However, systemic toxicity can also result from inhalation of vapors.
      • 3) DERMAL: The major hazard of phenol is its ability to penetrate the skin rapidly, especially in its liquid form. Its strong corrosive effect on body tissue can cause severe chemical burns. However, due to its local anesthetizing properties, skin burns may be painless. Skin absorption can cause systemic symptoms and even death. Chronic exposure may lead to symptoms described for acute poisoning as well as eye and skin discoloration.
      • 4) INGESTION: Phenol ingestion may cause oral, esophageal, and gastric burns. Systemic symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dyspnea, tachypnea, pallor, profuse sweating, hypotension, dysrhythmias, acute lung injury, methemoglobinemia, hemolytic anemia, elevated anion gap metabolic acidosis, agitation, lethargy, seizures and coma.
      • 5) PULMONARY: Inhalational exposures can cause digestive disturbances (vomiting, dysphagia, diarrhea, anorexia) and can irritate and even burn the respiratory tract. Signs and symptoms of chronic inhalation exposure may include headache, cough, weakness, fatigue, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, paresthesias, ochronosis, and albuminuria.
      • 6) OCULAR: Direct contact to the eyes may result in symptoms ranging from redness, pain, and blurred vision to severe burns that may lead to partial or even complete loss of vision.
    • A) Chronic exposures have been reported to cause death from liver and kidney injuries. It may also affect the pancreas and heart muscle.
    • B) Other signs and symptoms of chronic exposures include: headache, vertigo, fainting, cough, fatigue, muscle aches and pain, lack of appetite, difficulty swallowing, excess salivation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, pallor, partial paralysis, ochronosis, albuminuria, and dark urine.
    • C) Phenol is not considered a serious respiratory hazard in the workplace because of its low volatility.
    • D) Skin the primary route of entry (for vapor, liquid, and solid forms of phenol). Skin absorption can occur even at low vapor concentration and without significant discomfort. Prolonged contact with the skin may cause dermatitis.
  • A) A 27-year-old woman at 30 weeks of pregnancy unintentionally ingested 50 g of resorcinol, and developed unconsciousness, drowsiness, tonic-clonic seizures, hypothermia, and respiratory failure. Approximately 24 hours after delivery, the newborn was pronounced dead. Following supportive therapy, the mother was discharged home on day 15.
  • B) Fetotoxicity and skeletal abnormalities have been reported in animal experiments.
    • A) IARC Carcinogenicity Ratings for CAS108-95-2 (International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2016; International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2015; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010a; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2008; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2007; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2006; IARC, 2004):
      • 1) IARC Classification
        • a) Listed as: Phenol
        • b) Carcinogen Rating: 3
      • 1) The agent (mixture or exposure circumstance) is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. This category is used most commonly for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans and inadequate or limited in experimental animals. Exceptionally, agents (mixtures) for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans but sufficient in experimental animals may be placed in this category when there is strong evidence that the mechanism of carcinogenicity in experimental animals does not operate in humans. Agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances that do not fall into any other group are also placed in this category.
    • A) Although one study found a high risk of lung cancer among woodworkers exposed to phenol, subsequent studies have not demonstrated an increased risk of cancer. There is, however, a report of squamous cell cancer in situ related to creosote exposure.
    • A) Phenol was not considered carcinogenic to rats or mice after oral exposure in drinking water. It was a promoter of skin cancer in mice.
  • A) Phenol has caused DNA damage, mutations, chromosomal aberrations, unscheduled DNA synthesis, DNA inhibition and micronuclei in experimental animals and cultured cells.
    • A) USES: Irritants are a broad category of substances that cause inflammation and swelling but not cellular death or tissue damage, while corrosives cause cellular damage and death. Whether a substance is labeled a "corrosive" or "irritant" typically depends on several factors including concentration, viscosity, pH, molarity, oxidation-reduction potential, complexing affinity toward bivalent ions, etc. It can be difficult to determine whether a substance is a corrosive or irritant and the distinction may be concentration-dependent.
    • B) TOXICOLOGY: Irritants cause inflammation and swelling with local tissue irritation; this can lead to rhinorrhea, cough, shortness of breath, bronchospasm, irritation of oral mucous membranes and esophagus, and rarely upper airway swelling or acute lung injury.
      • 1) MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Irritants may cause swelling, redness, and pain at any site, especially at mucous membranes. The mouth, nose, and eyes are commonly affected. After inhalation, cough, tachypnea, and wheezing are common. With ingestion, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common. With dermal exposure, redness, swelling, and pain may occur.
  • A) Pregnant female rats were exposed to N- methylpyrrolidone. Exposed offspring had normal motor function, activity levels, and low-level learning abilities. On higher-level learning tests, their performance was impaired compared to unexposed offspring.
    • A) Development of sinonasal neoplasms has been associated with exposure to wood dust and other irritants.
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