CAS ID #: 8021-39-4, 8001-58-9
Affected Organ Systems: Dermal (Skin), Hepatic (Liver)
Cancer Effects: None
Chemical Classification: None
Summary: Creosote is the name used for a variety of products: wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles. These products are mixtures of many chemicals created by high-temperature treatment of beech and other woods, coal, or from the resin of the creosote bush. Wood creosote is a colorless to yellowish greasy liquid with a smoky odor and burned taste. Coal tar creosote is a thick, oily liquid that is typically amber to black in color. Coal tar and coal tar pitch are usually thick, black, or dark-brown liquids or semisolids with a smoky odor. Wood creosote has been used as a disinfectant, a laxative, and a cough treatment, but is rarely used these ways today. Coal tar products are used in medicines to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis, and are also used as animal and bird repellents, insecticides, restricted pesticides, animal dips, and fungicides. Coal tar creosote is the most widely used wood preservative in the United States. Coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles are used for roofing, road paving, aluminum smelting, and coking.
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- Page last reviewed: March 3, 2011
- Page last updated: March 3, 2011
- Content source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry