• Carbolic acid
  • Hydroxybenzene
  • Phenic acid
Formula C6H6O


Formula mass 94.11   Flash point, C 79
Melting point, C 40.6   Autoignition temp., C 715
Boiling point, C 181.9   Upper explosive limit (%) 8.6
Vapor pressure, mmHg 0.4   Lower explosive limit (%) 1.8
Vapor density 3.24   Heat of combustion -3053.5 kj/mol @ 25C
Specific gravity/density 1.072   Heat of vaporization 57.82 kj/mol @ 25C
Solubility in water 9 g/100ml   Critical temperature 694.2 K
Viscosity 3.437 cp @ 50C   Critical pressure 6.13 MPa
Surface tension 38.20 dynes/cm @ 50C   Partition coefficient 1.46
Odor threshold 0.048 ppm   Equilibrium constant pKa = 9.994 @ 25 C
Description Colorless, acicular crystals or white, crystalline mass. Has distinct, aromatic, somewhat sickening sweet & acrid odor

Registry and shipping numbers.

CAS 108-95-2   Std. transport number 49 212 20
EINECS 203-632-7   UN (DOT) 1671
RTECS SJ3325000   UN (DOT) Guide 153
RCRA U188   CAS Number 71-43-2 is listed on the TSCA inventory.

Shipping information.

46 CRF Class



Grades of purity

90-99% (solid), 60-85%

46 CRF Category



Storage temperature


46 CRF Group



Vapor Control


IMO Designation




No requirement

IMO pollution category



Ship Type


USCG compatibility group

21; Phenol, Cresol


Barge hull type




Phenol should be stored in closed containers in an area which is adequate to ensure that airborne phenol concentrations do not exceed 20 mgcu m. Conditions shall be controlled to prevent overheating and the buildup of pressure in phenol containers storage tanks must be electrically grounded and bonded to transfer lines. Transfer and storage systems shall be designed and operated to prevent blockage by condensed phenol. Open flames are prohibited when drums of phenol are heated to melt the contents. Keep well closed and protected from light. Store in cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Separate from oxidizers and acute fire hazards.
Stability: Prone to redden on exposure to air and light, hastened by presence of alkali.
Incompatibilities: Uncontrolled contact of phenol with peroxodisulfuric acid may cause explosion. A combination of phenol with calcium hypochlorite results in an exothermic reaction producing toxic fumes which may ignite. Avoid contact with strong oxidizers, calcium hypochlorite, aluminum chloride, acids.

Fire or spill.


Health:  3 .Flammability:  2 Reactivity:  0
Fire potential May be ignited by electrostatic discharge.
Combustion products Toxic and irritating vapors are generated when heated.
Fire fighting Fire extinguishing agents: Small fires-dry chemical, CO2, water spray or foam (alcohol); large fires- water spray, fog, or foam; use water spray to cool containers in fire area. If material on fire or involved in fire: Use water in flooding quantities as fog. Solid streams of water may be ineffective. Cool all affected containers with flooding quantities of water. Apply water from as far a distance as possible. Use foam, dry chemical, or carbon dioxide. Keep run off-water out of sewers and water sources.


Exposure limit(s) OSHA PEL: TWA 5 ppm (19 mg/m3) skin
NIOSH REL: TWA 5 ppm (19 mg/m3) C 15.6 ppm (60 mg/m3) 15-minute skin
NIOSH IDLH: 250 ppm


Abnormally low blood pressure, reduced body temperature, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate may develop with severe toxicity.

    Inhalation Tachypnea is commonly reported; pulmonary edema and bronchospasm may also occur. Phenol is not considered a serious respiratory hazard in the workplace because of its low volatility. Systemic absorption can damage lungs and lead to cardiorespiratory collapse.

    Skin Phenol is corrosive to the skin, but because of anesthetic qualities, it will numb rather than causing a burning pain on contact. Skin becomes red and swollen, then white and opaque. Deep burns result that may become gangrenous. Poisoning is usually through skin absorption; lethal quantities can be absorbed. Dermal contact with phenolic compounds may result in irritation, dermatitis, abnormal pigmentation, and burns. Dermatitis and depigmentation appear to be the most common adverse effects.

    Neurologic Initial CNS excitation, including seizures, is commonly followed by CNS depression ranging from lethargy to coma and death.

    Reproductive Fetotoxicity and skeletal abnormalities have been reported in animal experiments.

    Inhalation Move victim to fresh air. Monitor for respiratory distress. If cough or difficulty breathing develops, evaluate for respiratory tract irritation, pneumonitis or bronchits. Administer oxygen and assist ventilation as required.

    Skin Remove phenol with undiluted polyethylene glycol 300 to 400 or isopropyl alcohol prior to washing, if readily available. Wash exposed areas twice with large quantities of water. A medical professional may need to examine the exposed area if irritation or pain persist after the area is washed.

    Eyes Irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of tepid water for at least 15 minutes. If irritation, pain, swelling, tearing, or sensitivity to light persist, the patient should be seen in a health care facility.


General information

Safety measures should include effective ventilation. Special precaution in tank cleaning which should not be attempted without proper gear; forced-air supply, rescue harness and lifeline, hose mask, boots, rubber apron and gloves, and a "watcher" stationed at entrance of tank. Cloropel, PVC (excellent resistance) or butyl rubber (good resistance) are recommended chemical suit materials for protection against phenol. Wear appropriate eye protection and protective clothing to prevent skin and eye contact. Eyewash fountains should be provided in areas where there is any possbility that workers could be exposed to the substance; this is irrespective of the recommendation involving the wearing of eye protection. Facilities for quickly drenching the body should be provided within the immediate work area for emergency use where there is a possibility of exposure.

Respirators Condition: emergency or planned entry into unknown concn or idlh conditions: respirator class(es): any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive pressure mode. Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in pressure-demand or other positive pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained breathing apparatus operated in pressure-demand or other positive pressure mode.
Condition: escape from suddenly occurring respiratory hazards: respirator class(es): any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted organic vapor canister having a high-efficiency particulate filter. Any appropriate escape-type, self-contained breathing apparatus.

Disclaimer. While every effort has been made regarding the accuracy of the information, neither Dr. James K. Hardy or The University of Akron assume any responsibility for its use.