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Cyclohexane

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Overview


Cyclohexane (C6H12) is a naturally occurring chemical that is also produced synthetically and used as a solvent in numerous industries. Acute exposure to large doses can affect the nervous system, and cyclohexane is a mild eye and skin irritant.

 

Just the facts


Physical Information

Name: Cyclohexane

Use: solvent

Source: natural and synthetic chemistry

Recommended daily intake: none

Absorption: inhalation dermal

Toxicity/symptoms: slightly toxic

General facts: over 1 million pounds produced annually

Environmental: slightly toxic

Chemical Structure



Structure retrieved from University of Iowa.

 

Chemical Description


Cyclohexane is a colorless flammable liquid that occurs naturally in crude oil, volcanic gases, and cigarette smoke but is also produced synthetically to be used as a solvent in numerous industries.

Uses and Benefits


Cyclohexane is a "high volume chemical" and more than 1 million pounds is produced annually in the US. It is used to extrapolate vapor degreasing solvents and as a solvent in certain industries including laboratory chemicals, machinery manufacturing and repair, rubber manufacturing, nylon production, and varnish and solvents (#Scorecard).

In the past, it was used in certain Pesticides.

Health Effects


Cyclohexane is mildly irritating to the eyes and can cause unconsciousness if inhaled in large enough quantities. Its long term toxicity is considered very low (#CalEPA).

Breathing large quantities of cyclohexane can result in nervous system impairments such as headaches, anesthesia, tremors, and convulsions. It is not expected to be a s (#EPA).

Environmental Effects


Cyclohexane is released into the environment primarily as an air pollutant from industrial sources. It breaks down easily into its component chemicals and it does not bind well to soil, so it eventually enters the groundwater. Cyclohexane has been observed to contribute to the formation of photochemical smog when it reacts with certain other chemicals (#EPA).

Precautions


Avoid exposure. If one comes into contact with cyclohexane, wash with water immediately, flush eyes with water, and if one breathes or ingests it, advanced medical attention should be sought immediately.


References


Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Chemical Fact Sheet - Cyclohexane

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