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Ethylbenzene is an organic compound with the formula C6H5CH2CH3. This aromatic hydrocarbon is important in the petrochemical industry as an intermediate in the production of styrene, which in turn is used for making polystyrene, a commonly used plastic material. Although often present in small amounts in crude oil, ethylbenzene is produced in bulk quantities by combining benzene and ethylene in an acid-catalyzed chemical reaction:
C6H6 + C2H4 → C6H5CH2CH3
What is Ethylbenzene?
Ethylbenzene is a colorless, flammable liquid that smells like gasoline.
It is naturally found in coal tar and petroleum and is also found in manufactured products such as inks, pesticides, and paints.
Ethylbenzene is used primarily to make another chemical, styrene. Other uses include as a solvent, in fuels, and to make other chemicals.
What happens to ethylbenzene when it enters the environment?
•Ethylbenzene moves easily into the air from water and soil.
•It takes about 3 days for ethylbenzene to be broken down in air into other chemicals.
•In surface water, ethylbenzene breaks down by reacting with other chemicals found naturally in water.
•Ethylbenzene can move through soil into groundwater
•In soil, it is broken down by bacteria.