Anthracene is a solid polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) of formula C14H10, consisting of three fused benzene rings. It is a component of coal tar. Anthracene is used in the production of the red dye alizarin and other dyes. Anthracene is colorless but exhibits a blue (400-500 nm peak) fluorescence under ultraviolet light.
Unlike many other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), anthracene is not classified as carcinogenic as listed by the U.S. agency OSHA. Anthracene, as many other PAHs, is generated during combustion processes. Exposure to humans happens mainly through tobacco smoke and ingestion of food contaminated with combustion products.