Methylamines are used to manufacture herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, choline chloride, electrical equipment, fuel additives, paper, explosives, pharmaceuticals, soaps, detergents and water treatment chemicals. The simplest form, methylamine, is typically made by the reaction of methanol and ammonia.
Methylamines can be used to create intermediates for many agricultural chemicals, such as biocides, miticides and insecticides. Another agricultural use is making feed for chickens, turkeys and pigs. Trimethylamine is used to make choline chloride, a vitamin B supplement for farm animals.
Methylamine goes into water gel explosives for the mining industry. Other flammable chemicals synthesized from methylamines include fuel additives that make vehicles run better and treatments for gas and oil. Another form of the ammonia-based chemical is used in the creation of a rocket propellant, dimethylhydrazine.
There are plenty of household uses for methylamines. Some of the most diverse products made by methyamine intermediates are pharmaceutical drugs. Surfactants in detergents and soaps are made with chemicals that need methylamine reactants. Resins made from the ammonia derivative take minerals and chemicals out of drinking water.
Methylamines are moderately toxic to wildlife. They usually break down quickly in the environment, so contamination from these substances is unlikely except in the case of a huge spill. Small amounts of methylamines in soil and water normally evaporate into the atmosphere.