Colourless, flammable, toxic liquid hydrocarbon aromatic compound (CHCH), the methyl derivative of benzene. Found in coal-tar light oil and in petroleum, it is obtained chiefly from the processing of petroleum fractions. It is used as a solvent, diluent, and thinner; as an antiknock additive in airplane gasoline; and as a raw material for TNT, benzoic acid and its derivatives, saccharin, dyes, photographic chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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