2-Chloroethanol is a colorless liquid similar to glycerine with faint, sweet pleasant ether-like odor. It is miscible with water.
It is also known as 2-chloro-1-ethanol, 2-monochloroethanol, 2-hydroxyethyl chloride, β-chloroethanol, β-hydroxyethyl chloride, chloroethanol, δ-chloroethanol, ethylchlorhydrin, ethylene chlorohydrin, glycol chlorohydrin, and glycol monochlorohydrin.
2-Chloroethanol is very toxic and exposure to it may be fatal. It is absorbed through skin. Exposure can damage the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, kidneys and liver. It is very irritating to eyes and lungs. In fire, it decomposes to hydrogen chloride and phosgene. It is a fire and explosion hazard.
2-Chloroethanol is primarily used for synthesis of ethylene oxide and a number of synthetic reactions for preparation of dyes, pharmaceuticals, biocides and plasticizers. It is also used for manufacture of thiodiglycol. It is a solvent for cellulose acetate and ethyl cellulose, textile printing dyes, in dewaxing, refining of rosin, extraction of pine lignin, cleaning of machines, and other uses.
The trade with 2-chloroethanol is relatively low-volume, as it is easier to make it as needed than to buy and store it.