An overview of Benzyl Alcohol’s uses and effects from Wikipedia -
Benzyl alcohol is used as a general solvent for inks, paints, lacquers, and epoxy resin coatings. It is also a precursor to a variety of esters, used in the soap, perfume, and flavor industries. It is often added to intravenous medication solutions as a preservative due to its bacteriostatic and antipruritic properties. It is also used as a photographic developer. Benzyl alcohol is used as a bacteriostatic preservative at low concentration in intravenous medications. It is oxidized rapidly in healthy individuals to benzoic acid, conjugated with glycine in the liver, and excreted as hippuric acid. High concentrations can result in toxic effects including respiratory failure, vasodilation, hypotension, convulsions, and paralysis. Newborns, especially if critically ill, may not metabolize benzyl alcohol as readily as adults. Reports in the early 1980s of sixteen neonatal deaths associated with the use of saline flush solutions containing benzyl alcohol preservative led to recommendations to avoid its use in neonates.
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