Profile: Cresols are organic compounds which are methylphenols. They are a widely occurring natural and manufactured group of aromatic organic compounds which are categorized as phenols (sometimes called phenolics). Depending on the temperature, cresols can be solid or liquid because they have melting points not far from room temperature. Like other types of phenols, they are slowly oxidized by long exposure to air and the impurities often give cresols a yellowish to brownish red tint. Cresols have an odour characteristic to that of other simple phenols, reminiscent to some of a "coal tar" smell. Properties Molecular formula: C7H8O Common name o-cresol m-cresol p-cresol Systematic name 2-methylphenol 3-methylphenol 4-methylphenol CAS number [95-48-7] [108-39-4] [106-44-5] Appearance in colorless crystals thicker liquid greasy- Room Temperature And Pressure Density and phase 1.05 g/cm3, solid 1.03 g/cm3, liquid 1.02 g/cm3, liquid Applications Cresols are used to dissolve other chemicals, as disinfectants and deodorizers, and to make specific chemicals that kill insect pests. Cresol solutions are used as household cleaners and disinfectants, perhaps most famously under the trade name Lysol. Cresol solutions can also be found in photographic developers. In the past, cresol solutions have been used as antiseptics in surgery, but they have been largely displaced in this role by less toxic compounds. Cresols are found in many foods and in wood and tobacco smoke, crude oil, coal tar, and in brown mixtures such as creosote, cresolene and cresylic acids, which are wood preservatives. Small organisms in soil and water produce cresols when they break down materials in the environment. Xylenols are dimethylphenols, or they can be thought of as methylcresols. Market Scenario Individual cresol and xylenol isomers are used in numerous applications, including resins (such as PPE from 2,6-xylenol and novolacs from o-cresol), polymerization inhibitors, fragrance chemicals, antioxidants, cleaners, additives, agrochemicals, phosphates and colouring materials. Cresylic acids are used mainly as a solvent for wire enamels; other uses include frothing agents and use in the mining industry. Markets for some products in the United States have declined because of environmental concerns and/or relocation of production from the United States to other countries. The largest part of cresols are used as intermediates in chemical processes for the production of e.g. antioxidants, arylphosphates, synthetic Vitamin E and pesticides. m/p-Cresol isomeric mixture is used as a process solvent for the production of wire enamels.