Chloroform is a colorless, sweet smelling liquid with anesthetic, euphoric, and sedative qualities when inhaled or ingested by humans. Chloroform has a boiling point of 61.15 °C and a melting point of −63.5 °C. It has a molar mass 119.37 g·mol−1. The density of chloroform varies based on its temperature: at -20°C, chloroform is 1.564 g/cm³, and at 60 °C, it is 1.394 g/cm³. Deuterated chloroform (CDCl3) is one of the most common NMR solvents. Low levels of chloroform are found in the air and in coastal waters, inland rivers, lakes and groundwater. For information on chloroform structure, chemical names, physical and chemical properties, classification, patents, literature and biological activities, click here. Read the Public Health Statement regarding chloroform from the USA Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Read a concise chemical assessment of chloroform from the World Health Organization. Low levels of chloroform are found in the air and in coastal waters, inland rivers, lakes and groundwater. Levels can be higher in industrial areas as well as in the air above swimming pools containing chlorine. Chloroform is used as a solvent, a substance that helps other substances dissolve. Also, it is used in the building, paper and board industries, and in pesticide and film production. It is used as a solvent for lacquers, floor polishes, resins, adhesives, alkaloids, fats, oils and rubber. Chloroform is used in making Fluorocarbon 22 (Chlorodifluoromethane), a refrigerant. Until the mid-1900s, chloroform was used as an anesthetic to reduce pain during medical procedures. Today, it is not used in this way due to its harmful effects. Chloroform can be made at home using bleach and acetone. It is legal to purchase and make chloroform in the United States. However, chloroform has been banned for use in drug, cosmetic, and food products since 1976. It is classified as an extremely hazardous substance in the United States. In some cases, chloroform is prohibited and restricted by FDA regulations. The use of chloroform in cosmetic products is prohibited because it causes cancer in animals and is likely to be harmful to human health, too. The regulation makes an exception for residual amounts from its use as a processing solvent during manufacture, or as a byproduct from the synthesis of an ingredient (21 CFR 700.18).
Chloroform is used as a reagent, solvent and anesthetic. Chloroform is frequently mixed with Methanol for extraction and separation processes in laboratories. Industrially, chloroform is most often used as a precursor in the chemical reaction to create polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly known as "Teflon." Chloroform is frequently used in mixtures with phenol and isoamyl alcohol for RNA and DNA extraction processes. Chloroform is frequently used as a solvent in research laboratories because it is relatively unreactive, miscible with most organic liquids, and conveniently volatile. You’ve likely watched many movies where chloroform is used to knock people out in order to kidnap them or disable them for some other reason. It’s definitely good for that, but subversive maneuvers isn’t what it was originally made for. Originally it was used as an anesthetic to knock people out for surgery. Chloroform is also seen in pesticide formulas in countries outside the United States, as a solvent for several materials, as a grain fumigant, an ingredient in fire extinguishers to lower the freezing temperatures of carbon tetrachloride and other refrigerants, as well as in the rubber industry. Warning: Chloroform can daze or knock out people even when it's consumed in small doses. Chloroform should not be consumed. Chloroform (CHCl3) is dangerous due to its ability to depress the central nervous system.