Aromatic hydrocarbons are classified as petroleum based chemicals of concern that possibly pose health threats. Benzene is an example of an aromatic hydrocarbon and it is classified has a “known human carcinogen”. Benzene is not an additive. It occurs naturally in petroleum at very low levels. Toluene is another example of an aromatic hydrocarbon. Toluene is used as a feedstock and also as a solvent. Overexposure to toluene can pose serious health risks for humans. Ethylbenzene and Xylene are yet two other aromatic hydrocarbons. Xylene is typically obtained from coal tar during coke fuel production, while Ethylbenzene occurs naturally in petroleum in very small amounts. Both can be used as petrochemicals and/or solvents in petroleum products such as fuels. Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes are better known as the BTEX compounds. The BTEX compounds are part of a bigger network of chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
Aromatic Carbon: Determining the amount of the aromatic carbon content in base oils, lubricants, and white mineral oils is important.