1,4-Butanediol (BDO) is an intermediate product; a colourless and almost odourless viscous liquid. Around 32 percent of BDO usage goes into the production of engineering plastic PBT, with another 32 percent going towards the manufacture of tetrahydrofuran (THF), also known as Lycra or spandex. A further four percent goes in to the production of paint remover gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 12 percent goes to polyurethanes, fibres coatings, elastomers and foams sectors.
Butanediol is not a skin irritant, but prolonged skin contact may cause slight irritation. Its vapours may cause mild irritation and possible reddening of the eyes. Proper respiratory and protective eyewear should be worn as inhalation of high vapour concentrations may cause irritation of the mucous membranes or the respiratory, and have a narcotic effect with symptoms of drunkenness.
Butanediol is stable under ordinary conditions of use and storage. It is combustible and is a slight fire hazard when exposed to heat or flame. During a fire, irritating and highly toxic gases may be generated by thermal decomposition or combustion. Use powder, alcohol-resistant foam, water spray or carbon dioxide to extinguish fire.
Around two-thirds of the BDO market is captive and more than half of the remaining third is tied up in long-term contracts.
To find out more Butanediol Methodology February 2013