Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) is an intermediate for the manufacture of butyric acid compounds and pyrrolidones used as a plasticizer, solvent for polymers, nylon precursor and in insecticides. GBL is also as a solvent for surface treatment for textiles and metal coated plastics; polymers (ABS, PVC, polyvinylcarbazole, PS, nylons and cellulose acetate ); paint romover; petroleum industry for natural gas, acetylene, paraffins, and naphthene separations; viscosity modifier and curing agent for polyurethanes. GBL is also used in photochemical etching and vitamin and pharmaceutical preparations.
GBL is also known chemically as dihydro-2 (3H)-furanone; butyrolactone; 1,2-butanolide; 1,4-butanolide; gamma-hydroxybutyric acid lactone; 3-hydroxybutyric acid lactone and 4-hydroxybutanoic acid lactone. Gamma butyrolactone is a precursor to gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, and is a key ingredient in the manufacture of GHB, one of the so-called date rape drugs. The body's metabolic process converts gamma butyrolactone to GHB. GHB is classified as a dangerous drug and is legally available in the U.S. only as part of an FDA-approved investigational study. Penalties under Texas law for illegal possession or sale of GHB are the same as for heroin and methamphetamines.