The structural formula of naphthalene is C10H8. Naphthalene is produced from the burning of crude oil and coal tar. It is also released from the emissions of car exhausts, cigarettes and forest fires.
Naphthalene is a white crystalline hydrocarbon that evaporates easily. Its toxicity makes it effective as an insect repellent and pesticide, particularly in mothballs. Inhalation of naphthalene is also toxic to humans, in whom it is known to cause serious blood disorders, liver damage and neurological problems. Continued exposure to naphthalene has been linked with cancer. When naphthalene enters the body, it is metabolized into alpha-naphthol, a toxic metabolite that is known to cause these ailments.