From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

2-Chloroethanol is a chemical compound with the formula C2H4ClOH. It is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor and is highly toxic and corrosive. 2-Chloroethanol is an important industrial chemical, used as an intermediate in the production of various other chemicals.

Properties[edit | edit source]

2-Chloroethanol has a boiling point of 128.5°C and a melting point of -67.2°C. It is soluble in water, ethanol, and ether, making it versatile for various chemical reactions. The compound is classified as a halohydrin, which means it contains both a halogen and an alcohol group in its molecule.

Production[edit | edit source]

The primary method for producing 2-Chloroethanol is through the reaction of ethylene oxide with hydrochloric acid, a process known as hydrochlorination. This reaction can be represented as follows:

C2H4O + HCl → C2H4ClOH

Another method involves the chlorination of ethylene glycol, but this is less commonly used due to lower yields and the production of unwanted byproducts.

Uses[edit | edit source]

2-Chloroethanol is primarily used as an intermediate in the synthesis of other chemicals. It is a key precursor in the production of ethylene glycol, which is a major component in antifreeze and polyester fibers. Additionally, it is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, dyes, and insecticides. Its ability to react with both organic and inorganic compounds makes it a valuable chemical in various industrial processes.

Health and Safety[edit | edit source]

Exposure to 2-Chloroethanol can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. It is highly toxic and can cause severe health effects, including respiratory distress, central nervous system depression, and liver and kidney damage. In severe cases, exposure can be fatal. Safety precautions, such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), are essential when handling this chemical.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

2-Chloroethanol is harmful to aquatic life and can cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. It is important to prevent spills and manage waste properly to minimize environmental contamination.

Regulation[edit | edit source]

Due to its toxicity and potential health risks, the handling and use of 2-Chloroethanol are regulated by various international and national agencies. These regulations ensure that exposure levels are kept to a minimum and that the chemical is used safely and responsibly.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD