Name: Gary A Latman
I asked this in the Chemistry section, but let us give an Environmentalist a
shot. There is an open can of moth ball flakes in the washroom where I work,
being used as a deodorizer. Its main ingredient is a benzene compound. How
dangerous is it to use the washroom and breathe in the air. There is a sink
and toilet in there, a very small space. Should I dump the
In the past moth crystals were composed of naphthalene. Today I believe the
compound is paradichlorobenzene. I do not have a toxicity book handy, our
technical library is unavailable.
Gary, you want to be sure that the material actually is moth flakes. There
are other air freshening compounds which might exist in a form similar to moth
flakes. You can ask the janitor of your building if he has the container from
which the material originated. There is often handling instructions on
containers of such substances. In the meantime, I will try to pin down
information for both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene.
Benzene is nasty stuff to breathe. I am not sure dumping it in the toilet is
the best thing to do with it. Dropping it in the trash is probably more
appropriate. Benzene is a known carcinogen and should be avoided. Your state
office of Occupational Health and Safety could probably give you standards of
work place exposure.
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Update: June 2012