SPECTRUM

Chemical Fact Sheet

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 57578
CASRN 57-57-8
Synonymsbeta-Propiolactone
Propanolide
2-Oxetanone
Analytical Methods EPA Method 8260
Molecular FormulaC3H4O2

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 chemical intermediate.
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.

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