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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: BCME; bis-CME; Chloromethyl ether; Dichlorodimethyl ether; Dichloromethyl ether; Oxybis(chloromethane)

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2630

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 542-88-1

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: KN1575000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 2249 131

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Ether, bis (chloromethyl): chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1008 bis(Chloromethyl) ether requirements identical to 29 CFR 1910.1003 -- 13 Carcinogens (4-Nitrobiphenyl, etc.) -- Cancer-Suspect Agent

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.1108 - bis(Chloromethyl) ether requirements identical to 29 CFR 1910.1003 -- 13 Carcinogens (4-Nitrobiphenyl, etc.) -- Cancer-Suspect Agent

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1008 - bis(Chloromethyl) ether requirements identical to 29 CFR 1910.1003 -- 13 Carcinogens (4-Nitrobiphenyl, etc.) -- Cancer-Suspect Agent
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 0.001 ppm, 0.0047 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens; Appendix B - Thirteen OSHA-Regulated Carcinogens

Health Factors

Carcinogenic Classification:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Group A, known human carcinogen

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 1, carcinogenic to humans (technical-grade) [1 MB, PDF, 454 pages]

National Toxicology Program (NTP): Known to be a human carcinogen [93 KB PDF, 2 pages]

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, mucous membrane, respiratory system; pulmonary congestion, edema; blurred vision (corneal damage), necrosis; decreased pulmonary function; cough, dyspnea, wheezing; blood-stained sputum, bronchial secretions; [potential occupational carcinogen]; INGES. ACUTE: Burning sensation in throat and chest, abdominal pain; shock or collapse.

Health Effects: Cancer (Lung) (HE1); Chronic bronchitis, impaired respiratory function (HE10); Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Marked (HE14)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system

  1. Vapor/air mixtures of bis(chloromethyl) ether (BCME) may be explosive.
  2. BCME is a contaminant (1 to 7%) of technical grade chloromethyl methyl ether (CMME). Both are no longer produced or sold in large quantities in the U.S.
Literature Basis:
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: bis-Chloromethyl ether.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): bis(Chloromethyl) ether.
  • EPA Air Toxics Website: bis(Chloromethyl)ether (BCME). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
  • No Author: bis(Chloromethyl) Ether and Technical-Grade Chloromethyl Methyl Ether (CAS Nos. 542-88-1 and 107-30-2) [93 KB PDF, 2 pages]. Report on Carcinogens (latest edition); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Bis(Chloromethyl) Ether. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 345-348.
  • Weiss, W. and Nash, D.: An epidemic of lung cancer due to chloromethyl ethers. 30 years of observation. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 39(10): 1003-1009, 1997.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Two Midget Impingers in series, each containing 10 mL derivatizing reagent
    maximum volume: 50 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.5 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/ECD
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 10)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Derivatizing reagent: 16 grams of 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol and 4.4 grams of Sodium Methoxide dissolved in 1 Liter of Methanol. OSHA personnel may obtain sampling solution from SLTC.
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Page last updated: 05/13/2008

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