What is Benzene and what is it used for?

Benzene is a clear, colorless and highly flammable aromatic liquid that evaporates quickly into the air, and can dissolve in water.  It is formed from both natural processes and human activities; natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires.

Benzene is present in crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke. It is industrially used as a solvent in paints and other chemicals and products such as dyes, detergents, nylon, plastics, drugs and pesticides.  Benzene is widely used in the United States; it ranks in the top twenty chemicals for production volume and makes up about one percent of every gallon of gasoline.

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