Systematically named 1,2-dichloroethane, ethylene dichloride (EDC) is a colorless liquid with an odor similar to chloroform. EDC sees most of its use industrially and commercially in the production of vinyl chloride, which is a key ingredient of the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic used in plumbing, furniture, wall coverings, automobiles, housewares, and numerous other applications. EDC is primarily produced via the chloride-catalyzed reaction of ethylene and chlorine, and can even be produced from ethanol. Ninety-five percent of all EDC produced around the world is used in manufacturing PVC, but it is also used in the development and manufacture of trichloroethane for dry cleaning, and the automotive industry also uses EDC as an anti-knock agent in leaded fuels to prevent buildup in valves and cylinders. On a cautionary note, EDC vapors are highly toxic when inhaled, and the substance itself is highly flammable. Proper universal precautions as detailed by safety data sheet should be observed at all times when handling or using EDC.
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