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bis(Chloromethyl) ether

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 Emergency Response Guidebook: 2249 131
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Ether, bis (chloromethyl): chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • 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]; Ingestion 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
  • Notes:
    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). 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:
  • 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 the Salt Lake Technical Center.

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