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565px-Chloroform.svg.png640px-Chloroform displayed.svg.png
Systematic name Chloroform
Other names Trichloromethane
Methyl trichloride
Methane trichloride
Molecular formula CHCl3
Molar mass Molar mass::119.4
Appearance Colorless Liquid
CAS number CAS number::67-66-3
Density and phase Density::1.4832 g cm-3
Solubility in water 0.8g/100 ml (20°C)
Melting point Melting point::-63.5 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::62°C
Molecular shape Tetrahedral
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet
Main hazards Fatal Paralysis
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

R/S statement R: R22, R38, R40, R48/20/22
S: R22, R38, R40, R48/20/22
RTECS number FS9100000

Chloroform is an organic compound made up of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Chlorine (CHCl3). It is mostly used for medicinal purposes such as anesthetics. Since its creation, however, it has been proven that Chloroform can be dangerous and possibly fatal when used. Chloroform was introduced by Dr. Samuel Guthrie who first made Chloroform by mixing drinking-alcohol with lime juice. He was trying to synthesize pesticide when he accidentally came up with Chloroform. The new creation soon became known as "Guthrie's Sweet Whiskey" because of how sweet Chloroform is.[1]


It is clear and colorless liquid with a strong and unpleasant smell. The molecular weight of Chloroform is 119.4. Its boiling point is 62 °C and its melting point is -63.5 °C.[2] Chloroform also has other names, they include: Trichloromethane, trichloroform, freon 20, COBEHN Spray-Cleaner solvent, formyl trichloride, methane trichloride, methenyl trichloride, and methyl trichloride. Chloroform is not flammable. [3]

If Chloroform decomposes, it lets off harmful products like hydrogen chloride and phosgene. Chloroform evaporates rather quickly. Chloroform is not usually created naturally, but it does exist in the atmosphere. [4] It reacts very strongly against bases in an organic substance. When it contacts alkali metals it can cause an explosion. The size of the explosion depends on the mass and size of the metal. [5]


Chloroform does not occur or rarely occurs naturally. it is made as a combination Carbon, Hydrogen, and Chlorine. Chloroform can also be created at everyday places such as chlorinated water at the pool, or in the tap. Chloroform is also produced in drinkable water in the summer because drinkable water is often spread out and aerated, increasing the rate of evaporation in Chloroform. Chloroform can also be contained in wood pulp. [6] Several sources say that Chloroform can be produced by macroalgae in the ocean and in spruce forest soil. Chloroform is usually produced in a factory, and several hundred tons of it are created at one time. In the 1990's there were 520,000 tons of Chloroform made in 19 countries per year. [7]


Chloroform was mostly used as an anesthetic, but it is also used as a pesticide. [8] Chloroform was first used to help people who suffered from asthma, and to help women in childbirth by numbing their body to pain. Chloroform has also been used in the creation of many drugs such as Penicillin, and dyes. Chloroform was used in some toothpastes to add extra flavor. The Chloroform was used as a replacement for sweetener, as it is 40 times sweeter than sugar. All these uses of Chloroform were halted once researchers discovered that Chloroform can cause cancer. [9] It is also used as a solvent for fats, oils, greases, rubber, waxes, resins, lacquers, floor polishes, artificial silk manufacture, gums and adhesives. [10]

Medicinal Value

Chloroform Jars.jpg

Chloroform was originally used as an anesthetic. The first man to use chloroform as an anesthetic was James Young Simpson when he used it on himself. Chloroform can also be very deadly. After Chloroform was mass produced to be used in hospitals as an anesthetic, several reports of sudden deaths came in, they all involved the use of Chloroform. Some believed it did damage to the heart. Eventually, the process of using Chloroform was deemed safe for all its uses and purposes and its use continued for awhile. Since that time, Chloroform has been used only when ABSOLUTELY necessary. [11] Chloroform has some negative side effects. When chloroform is inhaled, ingested, or makes contact with skin or eyes it can cause damage to the body. [12] Chloroform doses are ranked in five stages where 1-3 are safe to use. Stage one makes the patient unable to feel but still conscious. Stage two makes the patient slow and lethargic but able to feel pain. Stage three, the final safe stage, causes complete numbness and an inability to feel pain. Stage four causes hard breathing for the patient total muscle loosening. Stage five is a fatal paralysis of all the chest muscles. This is the final and most dangerous stage. Chloroform is not used as much today because it has been medically proven that Chloroform can cause cancer. Since its discovery, safer compounds have been created to replace Chloroform for medicinal purposes. [13]