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.
Can a medical test determine exposure to carbon black?
There are no medical tests that will confirm occasional, short-term exposures to carbon black. People with long-term exposure may be given a chest x-ray. When read by a specialist, the X-ray can determine if lung damage has occurred.
Seek medical advice if you have any symptoms that you think may be related to chemical exposure.
(P-44789 Revised 12/2010)
This fact sheet summarizes information about this chemical and is not a complete listing of all possible effects. It does not refer to work exposure or emergency situations.