Carbon Tetrachloride

General Description

  • Synonyms: Carbon chloride; Carbon tet; Freon® 10; Halon® 104; Tetrachloromethane
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0570
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 56-23-5
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: FG4900000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1846 151
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Carbon Tetrachloride: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 5 ppm, 31 mg/m3 TWA; 10 ppm, 63 mg/m3 STEL; Skin; Appendix A2 - Suspected Human Carcinogen
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 2 ppm, 12.6 mg/m3 STEL (60 Minutes); Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 200 ppm
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin; CNS depression; nausea, vomiting; liver, kidney damage; drowsiness, dizziness, incoordination; dermatitis; [potential occupational carcinogen]; Ingestion Acute: Abdominal pain; diarrhea.
  • Health Effects: Cumulative liver damage (HE3); Teratogen (HE5)
  • Affected Organs: CNS, eyes, lungs, liver, kidneys, skin
  • Notes:
    1. Carbon tetrachloride is an OSHA Select Carcinogen.
    2. EPA's oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime) of carbon tetrachloride is 0.0007 mg/kg/day.
    3. Cytochrome P450 2E1 metabolizes carbon tetrachloride to toxic derivatives, such as the reactive trichloromethyl radical. Known metabolites include phosgene, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, chloroform, and hexachloroethane.
    4. Greater toxicity of carbon tetrachloride has been reported in heavy drinkers, possibly due to induction of additional CYP2E1 enzyme by chronic ethanol consumption.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Carbon Tetrachloride.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Carbon tetrachloride.
    • EPA Air Toxics Website: Carbon tetrachloride. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
    • No Author: Carbon tetrachloride. IARC Monogr. Eval. Carcinog. Risks Hum. 71 (pt. 2): 401-432, 1999.
    • No Author: Carbon Tetrachloride (PDF). Report on Carcinogens (latest edition); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
    • Manno, M. and Rezzadore, M.: Critical role of ethanol abuse in carbon tetrachloride poisoning. Lancet 343(891): 232, 1994.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Carbon Tetrachloride. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 501-504.
    • Takahashi, S., et al.: Increased cytotoxicity of carbon tetrachloride in a human hepatoma cell line overexpressing cytochrome P450 2E1. J. Int. Med. Res. 30(4): 400-405, 2002.
    • Zangar, R.C., Benson, J.M., Burnett, V.L. and Springer, D.L.: Cytochrome P450 2E1 is the primary enzyme responsible for low-dose carbon tetrachloride metabolism in human liver microsomes. Chem. Biol. Interact. 125(3): 233-243, 2000.
  • Date Last Revised: 11/03/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
  • analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
  • maximum volume: 15 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (TWA)
  • minimum time: 5 Minutes
  • maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (Ceiling)
  • minimum time: 5 Minutes
  • maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (Peak)
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 1003 (PDF))
  • method classification: Partially Validated

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