Chemical Structure / July 6, 2018 / Laney Wolfe
It is produced on a large scale and is primarily used in the production of polymers, but also sees use in food processing, and as a process fluid in low-temperature heat-exchange applications. In the European Union, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications. For cosmetics and pharmacology, the number is E490.
Chloroacetic acid easily penetrates skin and mucous membranes and interferes with cellular energy production. Initial dermal exposure to high concentrations (e.g., 80% solution) may not appear very damaging at first, however systemic poisoning may present within hours. Exposure can be fatal if greater than 6% body surface area is exposed to chloroacetic acid. The sodium salt does not penetrate the skin as well as the acid but can be as damaging given a longer duration and greater surface area of exposure.
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