2,2,2-Tribromoethanol is utilized in organic synthesis of beta-amino alcohols. The pharmaceutical preparation of tribromoethanol serves as an anesthetic in medicine.
Carboxyl groups can be protected as tribromoethyl esters, e.g. by reaction of the acid chloride in the presence of N,N-dimethylaniline. The group is readily cleaved with Zn/AcOH: J. Chem. Soc., Pekin 1., 2875 (1993); (cf. 2,2,2-Trichloroethanol, L08163). The group has also been exploited in the activation of carboxylic acids for amidation with amines, by reductive cleavage of the tribromoethyl ester with a P(III) reagent, preferably Hexamethylphosphorous triamide, A12571, and triethylamine. In an analogous esterification method with alcohols, tributylphosphine - DMAP was the preferred system: J. Org. Chem., 64, 1430 (1999).
Maheras, K. J.; Gow, A. Increased anesthesia time using 2,2,2-tribromoethanol-chloral hydrate with low impact on mouse psychoacoustics. J. Am. Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci. 2002, 41 (3), 28-32.
Hazard Statements: H302-H315-H319-H335
Harmful if swallowed. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye irritation. May cause respiratory irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P261-P280a-P305+P351+P338-P304+P340-P405-P501a