From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia


2,4-Xylidine is an organic compound with the formula C8H11N. It is one of the isomers of xylidine, which in turn is a dimethyl derivative of aniline. 2,4-Xylidine is a colorless liquid, although commercial samples can appear yellow due to impurities. It is primarily used as an intermediate in the synthesis of other compounds, including dyes, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

Production[edit | edit source]

2,4-Xylidine is produced through a process of nitration of xylene followed by reduction of the resulting nitro compounds. The nitration of xylene gives a mixture of nitroxylene isomers, which are then selectively reduced to yield the corresponding xylidine isomers. The specific conditions used in the nitration and reduction steps can influence the yield of 2,4-xylidine relative to other isomers.

Uses[edit | edit source]

The primary use of 2,4-xylidine is as a chemical intermediate. It is involved in the manufacture of a variety of products, including:

  • Dyes: 2,4-Xylidine can be used to synthesize azo dyes, which are widely used in textile coloring.
  • Pharmaceuticals: It serves as a starting material for the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). For example, it is used in the production of antihistamines and other medicinal compounds.
  • Agrochemicals: 2,4-Xylidine is also a precursor to certain pesticides and herbicides.

Health and Safety[edit | edit source]

Exposure to 2,4-xylidine poses several health risks. It is toxic if ingested, inhaled, or comes into contact with skin. The compound can cause organ damage with prolonged or repeated exposure. It is also classified as a possible human carcinogen by certain health agencies due to evidence from animal studies suggesting it may cause cancer. Safety measures include using personal protective equipment (PPE), ensuring adequate ventilation in work areas, and following proper handling and storage guidelines.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

Like many chemical compounds, 2,4-xylidine can have adverse effects on the environment if not managed properly. It is important to prevent releases into the environment, where it can harm aquatic life and potentially enter the human food chain. Waste management practices, including treatment and disposal, are critical in minimizing environmental impact.

Regulation[edit | edit source]

Due to its health and environmental risks, the production, use, and disposal of 2,4-xylidine are regulated in many countries. Regulations may include limits on workplace exposure, requirements for pollution control technologies, and guidelines for safe handling and disposal.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD