|Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #)||
||EPA Method 8260|
Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details
on this compound.
|Use|| VERSATILE INTERMEDIATE IN ORGANIC SYNTHESIS; DISINFECTANT
Used as a sporicide to sterilize water, milk, nutrient broths, and vaccines.
Prepare commercial acrylates by reacting with ethylene cyanohydrin. Former use
To inactivate the influenza virus for use as a vaccine.
Beta-propiolactone is now used for vaccines, tissue grafts, surgical instruments, and enzymes, as a
sterilant of blood plasma and as a vapor phase disinfectant in enclosed spaces. Its sporicidal
action is used against vegetative bacteria, pathogenic fungi, and viruses.
|Consumption Patterns|| MORE THAN 85% IS USED IN CAPTIVE CONSUMPTION FOR ACRYLATES;
LESS THAN 15% IS USED AS A STERILANT (1972)
|Apparent Color|| A COLORLESS LIQUID
|Odor|| PUNGENT ; SLIGHTLY SWEETISH
|Boiling Point|| 61 DEG C @ 20 MM HG
|Melting Point|| -33.4 DEG C
|Molecular Weight|| 72.06
|Density|| 1.1460 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEG C
|Sensitivity Data|| Eye irritant
|Environmental Impact|| beta-Propiolactone may be released to the environment in waste streams from factories
where it is made or used. If released to water, hydrolysis will be the dominant environmental fate
process. The aqueous hydrolysis half-life at 25 deg C is approximately 3.5 hr. If released to soil,
relatively rapid hydrolysis can be expected to occur in the presence of moisture. Significant
evaporation may occur from dry surfaces. If released to the atmosphere, beta-propiolactone is
expected to exist in the gas-phase where it may be relatively persistent. The half-life for the
reaction with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals can be estimated to occur at the
relatively slow rate of 45 days in the atmosphere. Physical removal from air via wet deposition
may be possible since beta-propiolactone is very water soluble. Occupational exposure may be
possible through inhalation and dermal contact at sites where beta-propiolactone is used as a
|Environmental Fate|| TERRESTRIAL FATE: The important environmental fate processes for
beta-propiolactone in the terrestrial environment are expected to be hydrolysis and volatilization.
beta-Propiolactone has an aqueous hydrolysis half-life of approximately 3.5 hr at 25 deg C ;
therefore, relatively rapid hydrolysis can be expected to occur in moist soils. beta-Propiolactone
has a vapor pressure of 3.4 mm Hg at 25 deg C ; therefore, significant evaporation from dry
surfaces may occur. Although high soil mobility can be predicted, concurrent hydrolysis should
preclude the importance of leaching.
AQUATIC FATE: The dominant environmental fate process for beta-propiolactone in water is
hydrolysis since it has a half-life of approximately 3.5 hr at 25 deg C(1,SRC). The hydrolysis
half-life at 5 deg C is approximately 33 hr(2,SRC).
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: Based upon a vapor pressure of 3.4 mm Hg at 25 deg C ,
beta-propiolactone can be expected to exist entirely in the gas-phase in the ambient
atmosphere(2,SRC). Gas-phase beta-propiolactone may be degraded in the ambient atmosphere
by reaction with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for this reaction can be
estimated to occur at the relatively slow rate of 45 days in an average atmosphere(3,SRC).
Beta-propiolactone is very water soluble (37 % v/v at 25 deg C) , therefore, physical removal
from air by wet deposition processes such as rainfall may be possible.