Epichlorohydrin, also known as chloromethyl-ethylene oxide, chloromethyl-oxirane and glycidyl chloride, is a volatile and colorless organic liquid that has a pungent odor similar to garlic. It is often used as a solvent for epoxy resins used for coatings and adhesives and as a building block for other plastics. The chemical is also used during manufacture of synthetic glycerine, textiles, paper, inks and dyes, solvents, surfactants, and for some pharmaceuticals. It can also be found in some insecticides. In some areas, epichlrohydrin is used in drinking water treatment processes, but because of its potential for harmful effects in humans, its use in this capacity is closely monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Adverse effects of epichlorohydrin include nausea, vomiting, cough, labored breathing, chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema at high levels of exposure. Regular exposure to amounts of this chemical in the air can lead to chronic levels of respiratory tract illness.