Chloroform is also called Trichloromethane, Methyl trichloride and Methane trichloride.

Chemical Formula: CHCl3
MSDS Number:C2915
Molecular Weight: 119.38
Solubility: 0.8g/100g water @ 20C (68F)
Specific Gravity: 1.48 @ 20C/4C
Boiling Point: 62C (144F)
Melting Point: -63.5C (-83F)
Vapor Density (Air=1): 4.1
Vapor Pressure (mm Hg): 160 @ 20C (68F)
Evaporation Rate (BuAc=1): 11.6

It is a clear, colourless liquid, with a pleasant non-irritating smell that gives a sweet taste. It is a solvent and is flammable at high temperatures. It can be explosive when a high concentration is present the air and a spark is created.

Chloroform evaporates easily and will break down into many products including phosgene and hydrogen chloride, both of which are toxic. However, this process very slowly. It also dissolves easily in water, where it evaporates much slower.

Health Effects:
This chemical, at 900ppm in air, can cause dizziness, eye irritation, fatigue, and headache when breathed for a short time. Acute exposure can cause fainting.

Skin exposure can cause minor irritations or sores. The larger the amount, the more severe the reaction.

It is not known whether exposure to cholorform can cause birth defects or reproductive effects in humans. Animal studies have shown that rats exposed to amounts from 30 to 330ppm had miscarriages or offspring with birth defects. Males had abnormal sperm.

Chloroform is not a proven carcinogen, however it caused liver and kidney cancer in rats fed water or food containing chloroform.


Chloroform, is formed by the action of the sun's rays on a mixture of chlorine and marsh gas; also by the action of caustic potash on chloral or chloracetic acid, or by the action of nascent hydrogen on tetrachloride of carbon. It is prepared on a large scale by distilling water and alcohol with bleaching powder. Chloroform is a colorless, mobile, heavy, ethereal liquid.

The vapor of chloroform, when inhaled for some time, produces a temporary insensibility to pain. Inhaled in small doses it produces pleasurable inebriation, followed by drowsiness; in larger doses it causes loss of voluntary motion, suspension of mental facilities, with slight contraction of the muscles and rigidity of the limbs; then if the inhalation is continued a complete relaxation of the voluntary muscles takes place, but if carried too far it causes dangerous symptoms of apnoea or of syncope, and the patient must be restored by artificial respiration.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Chlo"ro*form (?), n. [Chlorine + formyl, it having been regarded as a trichloride of this radical: cf. F. chloroforme, G. chloroform.] Chem.

A colorless volatile liquid, CHCl3, having an ethereal odor and a sweetish taste, formed by treating alcohol with chlorine and an alkali. It is a powerful solvent of wax, resin, etc., and is extensively used to produce anaesthesia in surgical operations; also externally, to alleviate pain.


© Webster 1913.

Chlo"ro*form (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Chloroformed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Chloroforming.]

To treat with chloroform, or to place under its influence.


© Webster 1913.

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