Cresols can be defined as the organic compounds that are methyl phenol. The cresols are a naturally occurring and manufactured group of aromatic organic compounds that can be defined as phenols. The cresols can be categorised as either liquid or solid depending on their melting point that is similar to the room temperature.
The cresols, like other forms of phenols, oxidise slowly when they are exposed to impurities and oxygen. This often gives the cresols samples a brownish-red to a yellowish tint. The odour characteristics of the cresols are of the other simple phenols which have a smell of coal tar. Cresol refers to the structure, being phenols as well as a traditional source of creosote. Cresols also have other names like hydroxytoluene.
The Structure of the Cresol
In the chemical structure of cresols, the molecule has the methyl group which is substituted on the phenyl ring. The three forms of cresol that exist are meta-cresol, para-cresol, and ortho-cresol. These forms either exist completely separately or as a form of the mixture, and it is also referred to as the cresol or the tricresol.
The Production of the Cresols
Approximately half of the cresols supply in the world is extracted from coal tar. The rest of it is manufactured by hydrolysis of the chlorotoluenes or through related sulfonates. The alternate method entails the methylation of the phenol using methanol over the solid acid catalyst which often comprises alumina or magnesium oxide. The temperatures that range over 300 degrees centigrade are considered typical. Anisole is converted to the cresols according to the given conditions.
When the compounds of cresol are ingested, applied to the skin, or inhaled then they might be harmful. Some of the effects or impact it has on people include burning of skin, throat, mouth, and eyes. People also experience vomiting and abdominal pain, irritation, heart damage, anaemia, liver and kidney damage, facial paralysis, coma, and sometimes even death.
Breathing high levels of this compound for a short period can result in nose and throat irritation. Ingesting high levels of this compound also causes throat and mouth burns, vomiting, kidney problems, abdominal pain, and adverse effects on blood and the nervous system. When high levels of the cresol compounds come in contact with the skin, it causes damage to blood, liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, and causes burning of the skin.