Hydroquinone, also benzene-1, 4-diol, is an aromatic organic compound which is a type of phenol, having the chemical formula C6H4(OH)2. Its chemical structure has two hydroxyl groups bonded to a benzene ring in a para position. Hydroquinone is commonly used as a biomarker for benzene exposure. The presence of hydroquinone in normal individuals stems mainly from direct dietary ingestion, catabolism of tyrosine and other substrates by gut bacteria, ingestion of arbutin containing foods, cigarette smoking, and the use of some over-the-counter medicines. Hydroquinone is a white granular solid at room temperature and pressure. The hydroxyl groups of hydroquinone are quite weakly acidic. Hydroquinone can lose an H+ from one of the hydroxyls to form a monophenolate ion or lose an H+ from both to form a diphenolate ion. Hydroquinone has a variety of uses principally associated with its action as a reducing agent which is soluble in water. It is a major component in most photographic developers where, with the compound Metol, it reduces silver halides to elemental silver.
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