Safer Solutions Total Environment Centre
Safer Solutions
. .
Naphthalene PDF Print E-mail

Naphthalene is a white solid derived from coal tar and is often used in the form of mothballs to protect woollen fabrics from moths. Mothballs may be attractive to small children and are a danger if they are swallowed. Naphthalene is an aromatic compound (see Glossary) which melts at 80oC and has a high vapour pressure even at room temperature. Burning tobacco or wood will produce naphthalene and it is used for making the insecticide, carbaryl.

Health effects
Exposure to the concentrated vapour of naphthalene, for example in a cupboard, may cause headaches and, if prolonged, may lead to anaemia. Good airing of articles stored with naphthalene is essential before they are used.

(See Camphor, Mothproofing.)

Next >