|Preferred IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||90.122 g·mol−1|
|Density||1.0171 g/cm3 (20 °C)|
|Melting point||20.1 °C (68.2 °F; 293.2 K)|
|Boiling point||235 °C (455 °F; 508 K)|
|Solubility in ethanol||Soluble|
Refractive index (nD)
|1.4460 (20 °C)|
|P261, P264, P270, P271, P301+P312, P304+P340, P312, P330, P403+P233, P405, P501|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Flash point||(open cup) 121 °C (250 °F; 394 K)|
|350 °C (662 °F; 623 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
1,4-Butanediol, colloquially known as BD or BDO, is a primary alcohol, and an organic compound, with the formula HOCH2CH2CH2CH2OH. It is a colorless viscous liquid. It is one of four stable isomers of butanediol.
- CH3CH2CH2CH3 + O2 → HOCH2CH2CH2CH2OH
In another industrial synthesis, acetylene reacts with two equivalents of formaldehyde to form 1,4-butynediol. Hydrogenation of 1,4-butynediol gives 1,4-butanediol. It is also manufactured on an industrial scale from maleic anhydride in the Davy process, which is first converted to the methyl maleate ester, then hydrogenated. Other routes are from butadiene, allyl acetate and succinic acid.
1,4-Butanediol is used industrially as a solvent and in the manufacture of some types of plastics, elastic fibers and polyurethanes. In organic chemistry, 1,4-butanediol is used for the synthesis of γ-butyrolactone (GBL). In the presence of phosphoric acid and high temperature, it dehydrates to the important solvent tetrahydrofuran. At about 200 °C in the presence of soluble ruthenium catalysts, the diol undergoes dehydrogenation to form butyrolactone.
World production of 1,4-butanediol was claimed to be about one million metric tons per year and market price is about US$2,000 (€1,600) per ton (2005). In 2013, worldwide production was claimed to be billions of lbs (consistent with approximately one million metric tons).
Use as a recreational drug
1,4-Butanediol is also used as a recreational drug known by some users as "One Comma Four", "Liquid Fantasy", "One Four Bee" or "One Four B-D-O". It exerts effects similar to γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which is a metabolic product of 1,4-butanediol.
1,4-Butanediol is converted into GHB by the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, and differing levels of these enzymes may account for differences in effects and side effects between users. While co-administration of ethanol and GHB already poses serious risks, co-administration of ethanol with 1,4-butanediol will interact considerably and has many other potential risks. This is because the same enzymes that are responsible for metabolizing alcohol also metabolize 1,4-butanediol so there is a strong chance of a dangerous drug interaction. Emergency room patients who overdose on both ethanol and 1,4-butanediol often present with symptoms of alcohol intoxication initially and as the ethanol is metabolized the 1,4-butanediol is then able to better compete for the enzyme and a second period of intoxication ensues as the 1,4-butanediol is converted into GHB.
1,4-Butanediol seems to have two types of pharmacological actions. The major psychoactive effects of 1,4-butanediol are because it is metabolized into GHB; however there is a study suggesting that 1,4-butanediol may have potential alcohol-like pharmacological effects on its own. The study arrived at this conclusion based on the finding that 1,4-butanediol co-administered with ethanol led to potentiation of some of the behavioral effects of ethanol. However, potentiation of ethanol's effects may simply be caused by competition for the alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes with co-administered 1,4-butanediol. The shared metabolic rate-limiting steps thus leads to slowed metabolism and clearance for both compounds including ethanol's known toxic metabolite acetaldehyde.
Another study found no effect following intracerebroventricular injection in rats of 1,4-butanediol. This contradicts the hypothesis of 1,4-butanediol having inherent alcohol-like pharmacological effects.
Like GHB, 1,4-butanediol is only safe in small amounts. Adverse effects in higher doses include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sedation, vertigo, and potentially death if ingested in large amounts. Anxiolytic effects are diminished and side effects increased when used in combination with alcohol.
While 1,4-butanediol is not currently scheduled federally in the United States, a number of states have classified 1,4-butanediol as a controlled substance. Individuals have been prosecuted for 1,4-butanediol under the Federal Analog Act as substantially similar to GHB. A federal case in New York in 2002 ruled that 1,4-butanediol could not be considered an analog of GHB under federal law, but that decision was later overturned by the Second Circuit. However, a jury in Federal District Court in Chicago found that 1,4-butanediol was not be an analog of GHB under federal law, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that verdict. In the United Kingdom, 1,4-butanediol was scheduled in December 2009 (along with another GHB precursor, gamma-butyrolactone) as a Class C controlled substance. In Germany, the drug is not explicitly illegal, but might also be treated as illegal if used as a drug. It is controlled as a Schedule VI precursor in Canada.
2007 contamination of Bindeez toy
A toy called "Bindeez" ("Aqua Dots" in North America) was recalled by the distributor in November 2007 because of the presence of 1,4-butanediol. The toy consists of small beads that stick to each other by sprinkling water. 1,4-Butanediol was detected by GC-MS. The production plant seems to have intended to cut costs by replacing less toxic 1,5-pentanediol with 1,4-butanediol. ChemNet China listed the price of 1,4-butanediol at between about US$1,350–2,800 per metric ton, while the price for 1,5-pentanediol is about US$9,700 per metric ton.
2021 poisoning at Darmstadt Technical University
In August 2021, several people fell severely ill after consuming drinks at building L2.01 at the Lichtwiese Campus of Darmstadt Technical University, Germany. Seven showed severe symptoms, two were transported to a hospital in Frankfurt, and a 30 year old person was, for a time, in a critical state. 1,4-butanediol had been detected in milk packages, as well as in water filters. At the location, detectives also found bromophenols and dicyclohexylamine.
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- United States v. Turcotte, 405 F.3d 515 (7th Cir. 2005) "With specific regard to 1,4 Butanediol, the jury has returned a special verdict which states that 1,4-Butanediol is not a Schedule I Narcotic Drug Controlled Substance analogue, because 1,4-Butanediol's chemical structure is not significantly similar to the chemical structure of GHB.
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