Phenol Toxicity

Publication Type:Book
Year of Publication:2022
Authors:J. W. Downs, Wills B. K.
Number of Pages:14 pp
Publisher:StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing


Phenol is a disinfectant and chemical precursor with a variety of uses and indications. Joseph Lister introduced the concept of antiseptic surgery using phenol, then known as carbolic acid. Reports of toxicity were not far behind. Phenol remained a healthcare disinfectant through much of the 20th century, but its use in healthcare settings is now uncommon. Phenol has a long history in dermatology as a chemical peel and skin rejuvenator, but laser treatments have recently surpassed it. Podiatrists use phenol for nailbed matrix ablation following ingrown toenail removal.

Phenol is still occasionally a component in some household disinfectants and a variety of gargles and ointments. Phenol-containing solutions are also home remedies for head lice. Methylated phenols, called cresols, are also found in home disinfectant products and may produce clinical toxicity similar to phenol.

Phenol is a common laboratory chemical used in the extraction of nucleic acid material from biological specimens. It also serves as a chemical precursor to many pharmaceuticals and chemicals, including acetaminophen, aspirin, levodopa, propofol, and some herbicides.

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Reprint Edition:Updated 2022 Jun 20
Wed, 2022-11-09 16:28 -- Yokb
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