Naturally produced by many plants benzyl alcohol is often found in teas and fruits. Many essential oils also contain benzyl alcohol. It has a slight odor and is a colorless liquid. Due to having a low toxicity and vapor pressure make this an ideal chemical to be used as a solvent.
Commonly used for paints, epoxy resin coatings, waxes, inks and shellacs. Also used in pain strippers and currently in the liquid for e-cigarettes.
Benzyl alcohol can also be used as an antimicrobial and local anesthetic. It is a useful degreaser in carpet cleaning products and solvent for dyes.
Since it is used in creams, shampoos, soaps, lotions and other skin products it sometimes can cause an allergic reaction such as contact dermatitis. It is also an eye irritant but is not considered carcinogenic.