Epichlorohydrin (abbreviated ECH) is an organochlorine compound and an epoxide. Despite its name, it is not a halohydrin. Epichlorohydrin is a volatile and flammable, clear, colorless, liquid, chlorinated cyclic ether with an irritating, chloroform-like odor that emits toxic fumes of hydrochloric acid and other chlorinated compounds when heated to decomposition. It is a chiral molecule generally existing as a racemic mixture of right-handed and left-handed enantiomers. Epichlorohydrin is a highly reactive electrophilic compound and is used in the production of glycerol, plastics, epoxy glues and resins, and elastomers.
Epichlorohydrin is used in the manufacture of epoxy resins, synthetic glycerin and elastomers. Exposure to epichlorohydrin irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, and can cause chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and renal lesions. This substance also affects the blood. Epichlorohydrin is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen and may be associated with an increased risk of developing respiratory cancer.