# phenol

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According to wiki benzene's health rating is 2 ("2. Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury. (e.g., chloroform)") however for phenol the rating is 4 ("4. Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury. (e.g., hydrogen cyanide)").

Is phenol really that dangerous? How feasible is it to work with it? Is it possible to inhale vapours and die or anything like that?

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Phenol stinks so I don't advise breathing in the vapour, it also burns the skin and you really don't want it in your eyes. However it's quite commonly used in industry and fairly dilute solutions of it are no worse to work with than lots of other laboratory chemicals. Why do you ask?

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lol what's the taste like?

Asked to know what kind of precaution should I exercise if I happen to get a hold of it, didn't look like a harmless chemical at first sight, that's why

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Sweet, or so I'm told; like methanol, chloroform, beryllium salts and lead salts.

Of course, all of theses are poisonous so don't bother to try the experiment.

No chemicals are harmless- it's always just a question of how harmful. I really wouldn't literally get hold of it since it will burn your fingers.

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ah cool. thx.

surely i wasnt intending to taste it or anything just asking. and no i won't get hold of it literally , if i find it tho it'll be a small glass bottle with some phenol in it

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in low doses I actually Like the smell of Phenol, it reminds me of old Circuit boards in my Grandfathers shed

in Fact Im currently working on a way to isolate Phenol from DPC (Diphenylcarbonate).

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I had a period long time ago when I was more of a chem geek and I had a bottle of crystalline phenol, but I discared to a recycling station it when I stopped playing around like I used to.

It should be treated with respect from the health point of view, but like YT2095 writes i don't think it smells bad per see, on the contrary. It has a kind of sweetish aroma. Needless to say I never put it in my mouth.

It reminds of brunt circuit boards, as well as some belgian beers (I'm a beer freak). "phenolic" is also in fact a flavour descriptor used in beer tastings. In beer it's not actually phenol, but a range of compounds that contains aromatic rings and does remind of phenol, some go to the vanilla side too. But it does remind of actual phenol. In beer these compounds originate from aromatic compounds existing as esters in the barley cell walls, and they are freed during the process and converted by the yeast into nice aromatic compounds.

The "phenolic" touch are signatures of many german wheat beers and belgian ales. Leffe blonde is my fave. But it also have significant amounts of banana esters and solvent like nail-polish esters. It's mainly due to the yeast strains used. If you want an idea, get a bottle of leffe blone... and try to mentally subtract the nail polish solvent, and the banana and there you've got the phenolic like sweetish excellent aroma. Either you like it or you hate it.

When it comes to beer, some people love the stuff, some don't. Classifying aromas as positive or negative are often subjective.

/Fredrik

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hey Frederik, interesting that with beers , are you saying belgian beers are as good as brunt circuit boards ... i dont like beer anyway lol

YT2095 if you succeed with that isolation let us know

(did you try TCP? aparently something commercially available in UK, never heard of it before http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TCP_%28antiseptic%29 ... edit: of course that won't work lol, how about that fungicide they mentioned trichlorophenol?)

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yeah, 2,4,6 Trichlorophenol, I think you can still get it here.

but the percentage is so Very low that youde need several litres of the stuff to make it even worth considering.

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hey Frederik, interesting that with beers , are you saying belgian beers are as good as brunt circuit boards ... i dont like beer anyway lol

Well not exactly like burnt circuit boards which tend to have a sharp burnt edge to them, but there are "similarities" in the aromas sort of in the same class. At least relative to my distorted brain. Though some wild yeast strains can also produce a spicy "burnt" phenolic character.

If you don't like beer, did you try any other beers but that typical lame light lager beers? Before I started to brew by (by accident) I didn't like it much either. But then I never tried the GOOD flavourful beers.

Depending on where you live the good beers may be are found at speciality shops or quality pubs that have a good selection

/Fredrik

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Yes, I believe I had the misfortune to try some lame beer, not once but a few times, and so I don't like it. Anything you'd recommend? (Apart from the Belgian ones

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Ther are certainly phenolic compounds in a number of drinks. In Whisky (my drink of choice as it happens) the presence of pheolics gives what's called a "peaty" flavour. The off flavour in wine described as "corked" is due to trichloroanisole. (OK, that's not quite a phenol, but it's close.)

I think the printed circuit board smell is more like benzoquinone, but it's certainly similar to phenol.

Perhaps I should stop sniffing at so many chemicals.

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it may smell that way, but old PCBs are Phenolic Resin based, Not benzoquinone, and for Smell PyroCatechol is much closer

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• 2 months later...

Last night I came across something that said that phenol was once obtained from distillation of coal tar. Is there any practicality in this for the home scientist? Coal tar sounds heavy though, I'd guess you'd probably need some serious distillation to get phenol out of it no? Does anyone know the process? (And how to get coal tar:-) )

On the other hand, it again seems easier to obtain benzene... if anyone comes up with any ideas let us know, I'd be very keen to get my hands on benzene or phenol

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you might want to check this out (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4827050.html), sorry, i cant write any more, i need to revise for an exam...

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Interesting. I'll read over it later, I'm revising for exam too right now

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the things to aim for are stuff like Sodium phenolate and Analine, these area easy to turn into what you`re after, and also use OTC chemicals

there are also methods that use benzoic acid and Toluene as precursors, but some of the methods are tricky.

either way, resign yourself to doing some serious distilation, you will not escape that part.

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sodium phenolate..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

by the way YT, I once came across one of your posts where you referred to a website that had list of products you could pick and what they contained.. I hope you know which one I mean.. if you do, could you please post it here again

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That's the one! Thanks.

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• 4 months later...

Phenol, approximately 3 times the potency of ethanol, a primary ingredient is Lysol....indians drink Lysol....it really isn't too harzardous....what shall you do with pure phenol. I myself was kinda needing phenol to Brominate it, well actually turn it to bromobenzene

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