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Chemical Fact Sheet

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 56235
CASRN 56-23-5
SynonymsCarbon tetrachloride
Tetrachloromethane
Methane, tetrachloro-
Perchloromethane
Analytical Methods EPA Method 502.2
EPA Method 524.2
EPA Method 601
EPA Method 624
EPA Method 8010
EPA Method 8021
EPA Method 8260
Molecular FormulaCCl4

Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details on this compound.

Use RECOVERY OF TIN IN TIN PLATING WASTE IN FORMULATION OF PETROL ADDITIVES IN REFRIGERANTS; METAL DEGREASING; PRODN OF SEMICONDUCTORS USED TO REDUCE FIRE HAZARD IN COMBINATIONS WITH EITHER CARBON DISULFIDE OR ETHYLENE DICHLORIDE INTENDED AS GRAIN FUMIGANTS. THESE MIXTURES ARE NOT APPROVED FOR FUMIGATION OF DRY BEANS, PEANUTS OR PEAS. FORMER USES Solvent for rubber cement; cleaning agent for machinery and electrical equipment; in synthesis of nylon-7 and other organic chlorination processes. Use in polymer technology as reaction medium, catalyst; in organic synthesis for chlorination of organic compounds; in soap perfumery and insecticides. Industrial solvent for cable and semiconductor manufacture. Metal recovery and catalyst regeneration. CHEM INT FOR FLUOROCARBONS, ESP FLUOROCARBONS 11 & 12 CHEM INT FOR PESTICIDES & HEXACHLOROETHANE CHEM INT FOR TETRABROMOMETHANE & PYROSULFURYL CHLORIDE METAL DEGREASING SOLVENT (FORMER USE) Carbon tetrachloride may have small commercial uses as chain transfer agent for making bromotrifluoroethylene polymers and as a catalyst preparation for the commercial isomerization of n-butane to isobutane; also it is used in plasma etching gases for etching aluminum in integrated circuits As solvent for oils, fats, lacquers, varnishes, rubber waxes, resins; starting material in manuf of organic cmpd; grain fumigant. Pharmaceutic aid (solvent). Formerly used as dry cleaning agent and fire extinguisher. Formerly as antihelmintic (Nematodes).
Consumption Patterns Demand: (1982): 586 million lb; (1983): 586 million lb CHEM INT FOR FLUOROCARBON 12, 62.3%; CHEM INT FOR FLUOROCARBON 11, 29.1%; OTHER, 8.6% (1980) Intermediate, 87%; miscellaneous solvent uses and other applications, 8%; grain fumigant, 4%; identified solvent uses, 1%; miscellaneous/other uses, < 1% (1978). From table Fluorocarbons 11 and 12, 91%; export, 6%; other, mainly chemical intermediate, 3% (1986) CHEMICAL PROFILE: Carbon tetrachloride. Fluorocarbons 11 and 12, 91%; exports, 8%; other (mainly chemical intermediates), 1%. CHEMICAL PROFILE: Carbon tetrachloride. Demand: 1988: 675 million lb; 1989: 650 million lb; 1993 projected/: 580 million lb. (Includes exports, but not imports, which totaled 140 million lb last year.)
Apparent Color COLORLESS, CLEAR, HEAVY LIQUID
Odor SWEETISH, AROMATIC, MODERATELY STRONG ETHEREAL; SOMEWHAT RESEMBLING THAT OF CHLOROFORM
Boiling Point 76.54 DEG C
Melting Point -23 DEG C
Molecular Weight 153.24
Density 1.5940 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEG C
Odor Threshold Concentration Odor recognition in air: 2.14X10 ppm (chemically pure) In water: reduction of amenities: odor threshold 50 mg/l
Sensitivity Data Prolonged exposure causing irritation of the mucous membrane . Eye contact with liquid carbon tetrachloride causes burning and intense irritation.
Environmental Impact Large quantities of carbon tetrachloride are produced each year; most of it is used for chemical synthesis of fluorocarbons and this has been declining. Some past solvent uses have been resulted in releases. In the troposphere, carbon tetrachloride is extremely stable (residence time of 30-50 years). The primary loss process is by escape to the stratosphere where it photolyzes. As a result of its emission into the atmosphere and slow degradation, the amount of carbon tetrachloride in the atmosphere has been increasing. Some carbon tetrachloride released to the atmosphere is expected to partition into the ocean. In water systems, evaporation appears to be the most important removal process, although biodegradation may occur under aerobic and anaerobic conditions (limited data). Releases or spills on soil should result in rapid evaporation due to high vapor pressure and leaching in soil resulting in groundwater contamination due to its low adsorption to soil. Bioconcentration is not significant.
Environmental Fate TERRESTRIAL FATE: Carbon tetrachloride is slightly removed during infiltration of river water into adjacent wells . However, carbon tetrachloride is expected to evaporate rapidly from soil due to its high vapor pressure and migrate into ground water due to its low soil adsorption coefficient. No data are available on biodegradation in soil. AQUATIC FATE: Evaporation from water is a significant removal process (half-life - minutes to hours). Based upon field monitoring data, the estimated half-life in rivers is 3-30 days; in lakes and groundwater, 3-300 days . Biodegradation may be important under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, but the data are limited. Adsorption to sediment should not be an important process. ATMOSPHERIC FATE: Carbon tetrachloride is very stable in the troposphere with residence times of 30-50 years. Its main loss mechanism is diffusion to the stratosphere where it photolyzes. It is estimated that <1% of the carbon tetrachloride released to the air is partitioned into the oceans .
Drinking Water Impact Surface Water: at various depths of Lake Zurich, Switzerland, concns of approx 25 parts/trillion were measured with no significant variation; Ground Water: levels in the industrial sector near Lake Zurich were reported at levels from 190-3600 parts/trillion and the compound was detected in 4/18 samples. /CARBON TETRACHLORIDE DETECTED @ LEVELS HIGHER THAN THOSE FOUND IN RAW WATER, SUGGESTING IT HAD LEACHED FROM PVC PIPE. LEVELS WERE 52 TO 125 TIMES HIGHER THAN CONCN IN RAW WATER. SURFACE WATER: Marine - surface 0.12-0.85 parts/trillion carbon tetrachloride, at 300 m depth - 0.15 parts/trillion (1,2,3). Fresh - 0-9 ppb(4-10). 14 heavily industrialized rivers 1-3 ppb, 6 of 204 samples pos(11). Great lakes - 9-47 parts/trillion (12,13). USEPA STORET DATA BASE - 8,858 water samples, 12% pos., median concn 0.10 ug/L(14). GROUNDWATER: 3-20 ppb carbon tetrachloride for 27 US cities , 5 ppb Netherlands . As of June 1984, analyzed for but not found in 1174 community wells and 617 private wells in Wisconsin . DRINKING WATER: 0.1-30 ppb carbon tetrachloride in 181 US cities - surface water source , 0.2-13 ppb in 39 US cities - groundwater source , 0-190 parts/trillion in 9 homes - Love Canal , 135-400 ppb wells in NJ and NY , 0-4 ppb - 80 US cities . RAIN: La Jolla, CA 2.8 parts/trillion, industrial area in England 300 parts/trillion carbon tetrachloride . SNOW: Southern and Central California 0.33-0.36 parts/trillion, Alaska 2.2 parts/trillion . EFFL: Wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant, Los Angeles county CA; 12-16 ppb. Industries with mean concentrations >90 ppb - non-ferrous metals manufacturing, paint and ink formulation, rubber processing, mean range 90-700, max range 1700-1800 . USEPA STORET DATA BASE - 1,343 effluent samples 5.5% pos., median concn <5.0 ug/L . Detected in leachate from a municipal landfill in southern California, max concn 11 ppb . Detected in leachate from Occidental Chemical Co landfill in Niagara Falls, NY . ENVIRONMENTAL ACCUMULATION: HAS BEEN FOUND EFFLUENT WATER FROM COMMERCIAL MANUFACTURING SOURCES AND SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT EFFLUENT WATER TAKEN FROM 43 SITES IN US AND EUROPE. Release of tetrachloromethane to the environment (air) in 1978: total, 39,880 kkg (production, 1,300-1,900 kkg; grain fumigant, 12,000 kkg; intermediate, 480 kkg; identified solvent uses, 1,400; miscellaneous, 24,400 kkg). From table Release of tetrachloromethane to the environment (land) in 1978: total, 130 kkg (production, 110 kkg; grain fumigant, < 1 kkg; intermediate, 5 kkg; identified solvent uses, 5 kkg; miscellaneous, < 10 kkg). From table Release of tetrachloromethane to the environment (water) in 1978: total, 360 kkg (production, 50 kkg; grain fumigant, < 1 kkg; intermediate, < 1 kkg; identified solvent uses, 110 kkg; miscellaneous, 200 kkg). From table

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