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For 2000

  • Caution - Phosgene hazard from chloroform (posted April 2000)

  • Hazard

    Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles became ill after using a three-year-old bottle of chloroform.  Analysis of the chloroform revealed concentrations of 15,000 ppm of phosgene in the headspace of the bottle and 1.1% concentration of phosgene in the bulk solution.

    While most material safety data sheets (MSDS) warn that phosgene may be generated from chloroform when exposed to flames, electrical arcs, intense sunlight or hot surfaces. they do not mention that phosgene may be generated over time from prolonged storage. The incident at UCLA suggests that chloroform can break down and form phosgene in older containers.

    Brief exposures (1 to 2 minutes) to 20 ppm phosgene can cause severe lung injury, and higher concentrations can cause death from pulmonary edema. Initial symptoms of exposure include throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, nausea and difficulty breathing. Severe symptoms such as extreme difficulty breathing may appear one to twenty-four hours after exposure.


    As chloroform is used in laboratories on campus, researchers using this compound should follow these precautions:

    • Purchase stabilized chloroform whenever possible. Amylene, a common stabilizer, will reduce, but not prevent, the generation of phosgene.
    • If unstabilized chloroform is needed, treat it as a time-sensitive chemical similar to ether;
      • date when received;
      • date when opened; and
      • discard within one year.
    • Store chloroform in a dark place (cabinet) in an amber bottle to reduce rate of decomposition.
    • Open chloroform containers in a chemical fume hood and use it in the fume hood as much as possible.
    • If you have opened unstabilized chloroform or chloroform stabilized with amylene that has been in the laboratory for more than one year, it is in your best interest to dispose of it as hazardous waste.
    If you have any questions regarding the handling of hazardous materials on campus, call Environmental Health and Safety at 646-3327.

    (Adapted from the Indiana University 'Safety Bulletin', January 2000 and Yale University "Safety Bulletin" January 1999) - dls April 00.

MEMOS via ABCD distribution

2000 Spring Safety Classes Memo - ABCD distribution

2000 Summer Safety Classes by Month - webpage 

2000 Jun 06, Defensive Driving for Summer & Fall 2000 - ABCD distribution

2000 Fall Safety Classes by Month - webpage

2000 Dec 07, Defensive Driving Classes Posting - ABCD distribution

2000 Dec 07, Defensive Driving Classes for Spring 2001 - ABCD distribution


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February 16, 2000 April 19, 2000     September 13, 2000 November 15, 2000


February 17, 1999 

April 21, 1999

    October 20, 1999 December 15, 1999


        October 21, 1998 December 16, 1998 


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