Chloroacetyl chloride is an organic compound used as a building block for several important chemical reactions. The molecular formula of the chemical is C2H2Cl2O. Commercially, chloroacetyl chloride is generally manufactured by reacting chloroacetic acid with thionyl chloride, sulfuryl chloride, phosphorus trichloride, or phosgene. Chloroacetyl chloride can also be obtained through the chlorination of acetyl chloride in the presence of stronger aliphatic acids such as chloroacetic acids, or from sodium chloroacetate in the presence of chlorinating agents. Chloroacetyl chloride is generally available in the form of a colorless liquid that is highly corrosive. On exposure to moist air, it gives out a pungent odor along with fumes.

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These fumes are highly toxic if inhaled and are corrosive to metal. The chemical is bifunctional—the acyl chloride segment readily forms amide and ester compounds, while the other segment of the molecule forms other linkages, e.g. with amines. Chloroacetyl chloride is widely used in the manufacture of pesticides and pharmaceutical intermediates. It is also used as an intermediate in several important chemical products. However, implementation of stringent environmental and health regulations is likely to hamper the chloroacetyl chloride market.

The use of chloroacetyl chloride as an intermediate in the production of alachlor and butachlor is the leading application of the chemical. More than 100 million pounds of chloroacetyl chloride is consumed annually in the production of alachlor and butachlor. Alachlor is an herbicide from the chloroacetanilide family, while butachlor is an herbicide from the acetanilide family. Chloroacetyl chloride is employed as an intermediate for many syntheses; the most important one is to make adrenaline, chloroacetic acid esters, and anhydride.

Chloroacetyl chloride is also used in the synthesis of N-hydrazino acetyl-sulphonamides and for the chemical modification of poly(glycidyl methacrylate). In the medicinal field, chloroacetyl chloride is used in experiments studying the in vitro metabolism of chloroacetamide herbicides by rat and human liver microsomes. Chloroacetyl chloride can also be employed to produce derivatives of quinolone that have antileishmanial activity. It is also employed in the manufacture of phenacyl chloride, a chemical intermediate that is used as a lachrymator agent (commonly known as tear gas).

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Rapid growth in population across the world has necessitated the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in farming in order to increase crop production and meet the rising demand for food. Rise in demand for pesticides is expected to boost the demand for chloroacetyl chloride. Asia Pacific is the key producer of chloroacetyl chloride. Among countries in the region, China is an important producer of chloroacetyl chloride. Other vital producers of chloroacetyl chloride in Asia Pacific are India, Japan, and Indonesia. The U.S. is the one of the prominent markets for chloroacetyl chloride; demand for chloroacetyl chloride is high in the country due to the high per acre consumption of pesticides. Canada is also a large consumer of chloroacetyl chloride based fertilizers. With chloroacetyl chloride being banned in Europe, the region is likely to witness sluggish demand for the chemical over the next decade. Brazil is a vital consumer of the chemical in Latin America.

Agriculture accounts for the major share of the market in Brazil in terms of volume and revenue. Mexico, Colombia, and Chile are the other important consumers in Latin America. The use of agrochemicals is increasing in Africa. This is expected to boost the demand for chloroacetyl acid in the region. Negative public segment regarding the chemical might affect consumption in the near future. Developed regions such as the U.S., Western Europe, and Australia are estimated to be more affected by these developments due to the popularity of ‘organic farming’ in these regions.

Key players operating in the global chloroacetyl chloride market include Altivia Corporation, CABB GmbH, Daicel Corporation, Chengwu Chenhui Environmental Protection Technology Co. Ltd, Transpek Industry Limited, Taixing Shenlong Chemical Co. Ltd., and Shiv Pharmachem Ltd.