Carbon black is the general term used to describe a powdery commercial form of carbon. Carbon black is a lot like graphite.
Carbon black can form as an air-polluting particle when fuels (like gasoline, diesel fuel and coal) are not completely burned. These carbon black particles are often coated with other chemicals making them more hazardous than commercially produced pure carbon black. The particle coatings may include "polyaromatic hydrocarbons," also called PAHs. (Please refer to the chemical fact sheet on PAHs for more information on their health effects).
In the tire industry, carbon black is used to strengthen and color rubber. It is also used to color inks and leather, and to insulate electrical equipment.
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