Agent Name

Coal tar

CAS Number


Major Category

Other Classes


Carbo-cort; Coal tar extract; Coal tar ointment; Coal tar solution USP; Coal tars; Coke-oven tar; Coking tar; Crude coal tar; Estar (skin treatment); Impervotar; KC 261; Lavatar; Picis carbonis; Pixalbol; Polytar bath; RT 7 (coal tar); Tar, coal; Tar, coking; Tarcron 180; Tarcron 180L; Tarcron 230; Zetar; [ChemIDplus]


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons


Brownish to black, thick liquid/semisolid substance with naphthalene-like odor; [HSDB] 0-2% benzene, toluene, & xylene; 16-18% phenols, cresols, & naphthalene; 8-10% naphthalene derivatives; 16-20% anthracene oils; and 50% pitch; [CHEMINFO MSDS]


Used in surface coatings and sealants (walls, insulation, pipes, roofs, and roads); Used to produce plastics, solvents, dyes, and drugs for psoriasis; Used as a fuel in open hearth furnaces in the steel industry; [HSDB]


May cause first degree burns after short exposure and second degree burns after longer contact; [CHRIS] NIOSH considers coal tar, coal tar pitch, and creosote to be coal tar products. Wood creosote (8021-39-4) is derived from the distillation of beechwood tar; it is yellow, transparent, and chemically distinct from coal tar creosote. [ATSDR ToxProfiles] Chronic exposure to coal tar and its vapors is associated with an increased risk for cancer of the lungs, kidneys, skin, and bladder. Coal tar is a potential photosensitizer. [CHEMINFO MSDS] Coal tar creosote (8001-58-9) and Coal tar pitch volatiles 65996-93-2) are covered separately. Coal-tar pitch is classified as 1 (IARC) and K (NTP); [Guide to Occupational Exposure Values] See "Coal-tar distillation."

Exposure Assessment
Explanatory Notes

For occupational exposure limits, see "Coal tar pitch volatiles."

Adverse Effects

Contact Dermatitis, Photoirritant

IARC Carcinogen

Known Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Human Carcinogen

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

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Biomedical References

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Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: