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Creosote is the name used for a variety of products: wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles. These products are mixtures of many chemicals created by high-temperature treatment of beech and other woods, coal, or from the resin of the creosote bush. 
Wood creosote is a colourless to yellowish greasy liquid with a characteristic smoky odour and sharp burned taste. It is relatively soluble in water. Creosote prepared from coal tar is the most common form of creosote in the workplace and at hazardous waste sites in the United States. Coal tar creosote is a thick, oily liquid that is typically amber to black in colour. It is easily set on fire and does not dissolve easily in water. Coal tar and coal tar pitch are the by-products of the high-temperature treatment of coal to make coke or natural gas. They are usually thick, black or dark brown liquids or semisolids with a smoky or aromatic odour. Chemicals in the coal tar pitch can be given off into the air as coal tar pitch volatiles when coal tar pitch is heated.