Ethanolamine (2-aminoethanol, monoethanolamine, ETA, or MEA) is an organic chemical compound with the formula C2H7NO. Ethanolamine, the first of three organic compounds that can be derived from ammonia by successively replacing the hydrogen atoms with hydroxyethyl radicals (―CH2CH2OH), the others being diethanolamine and triethanolamine.
It is used as feedstock in the production of detergents, emulsifiers, polishes, pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors, and chemical intermediates.
In the home, Ethanolamine can be found in some permanent waves and hair dyes where it helps to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified so that water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients can be blended together. Ethanolamine functions as a pH adjuster to control the pH of cosmetics and personal care products.
The molecule is bifunctional, containing both a primary amine and a primary alcohol. Ethanolamine is a colourless, viscous liquid with an odour resembling that of ammonia.
Its derivatives are widespread in nature; e.g., lipids, as precursor of a variety of N-acylethanolamines (NAEs), that modulate several animal and plant physiological processes such as seed germination, plant-pathogen interactions, chloroplast development and flowering, as well as precursor, combined with arachidonic acid (C20H32O2; 20:4, ω-6), to form the endocannabinoid Anandamide (AEA: C22H37NO2; 20:4, ω-6).
The ethanolamines comprise a group of amino alcohols.
A class of antihistamines is identified as ethanolamines, which includes carbinoxamine, clemastine, dimenhydrinate, Chlorphenoxamine, diphenhydramine and doxylamine.