Molecule of the Week


November 14, 2011

p-Dichlorobenzene is the crystalline, harsh-smelling solid that is the active ingredient in mothballs. In 1957, E. C. Kooyman and colleagues reported its preparation, along with that of its meta and ortho isomers (both liquids), by chlorinating benzene and separating the product mixture. Its high volatility at ambient temperature makes it an effective insecticide and microbicide. Despite its common use, prolonged exposure can cause dizziness, liver injury, and possibly cancer.

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