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Chloroacetic acid is used in the production of pharmaceuticals, dyes, detergents, synthetic caffeine, glycine and thioglycolic acid, which acts as a stabilizer in PVC. It acts as a precursor to glyphosate and adrenaline. It also serves as a preservative and bacteriostat. Further, it is used as surface active agents and photosensitive chemicals. It is also used in the O-alkylation of salicylaldehyde and an active component in cosmetics. In addition, it is involved in the preparation of thickening agent carboxymethyl cellulose and carboxymethyl starch.
A convenient one-pot alternative to the Knoevenagel or Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons reactions for the synthesis of ɑ-unsubstituted cinnamic acids involves the reaction of chloroacetic acid with dimethyl phosphite in the presence of sodium methoxide, and treatment of the resulting phosphonoacetate salt with a benzaldehyde: J. Org. Chem., 46, 2514 (1981):
For a more general version of this reaction, applicable to the synthesis of a variety of substituted acrylic acids, see 2-Bromopropionic acid, A17569 .
Scialdone, O.; Galia, A.; Sabatino, S.; Mira, D.; Amatore, C. Electrochemical Conversion of Dichloroacetic Acid to Chloroacetic Acid in a Microfluidic Stack and in a Series of Microfluidic Reactors. Chem. Electro. Chem. 2015, 2 (5), 684-690.
Teng, Y.; Liu, Y.; Jiang, J. Preparation of Carboxyl-End-Group Poly(methyl methacrylate) and Polystyrene with Low Polydispersity by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization Initiated with Chloroacetic Acid. Asian J. Chem. 2015, 27 (9), 3254-3258.
Gefahrenhinweise (EU): H301-H311-H331-H314
Toxic if swallowed. Toxic in contact with skin. Toxic if inhaled. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
IF SWALLOWED: IF ON SKIN (or hair): Remove/Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water/shower. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. Store locked up. Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national/international regulations.