Encyclopedia > Chloroform

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Chloroform (also known as trichloromethane and methyl trichloride) is a chemical compound with formula CHCl3. It is a colorless liquid with a pleasant, nonirritating odor and a slightly sweet taste. It will burn only when it reaches very high temperatures.

In the past, chloroform was used as an inhaled anesthetic during surgery. In modern time chloroform is used to make other chemicals and can also be formed in small amounts when chlorine is added to water.

Breathing about 900 parts of chloroform per million parts air (900 ppm) for a short time can cause dizziness, fatigue, and headache. Breathing air, eating food, or drinking water containing high levels of chloroform for long periods of time may damage your liver and kidneys. Large amounts of chloroform can cause sores when chloroform touches your skin.

The effect of chloroform on pregnancy and the reproduction cycle[?] of humans is unknown.

Animal studies have shown that miscarriages occurred in rats and mice that breathed air containing 30 to 300 ppm chloroform during pregnancy and also in rats that ate chloroform during pregnancy. Offspring of rats and mice that breathed chloroform during pregnancy had birth defects. Abnormal sperm were found in mice that breathed air containing 400 ppm chloroform for a few days.

Approximately 10% of the population has a genetic reaction to chloroform that produces a fever of around 40 upon exposure.

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