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Chloroform > Dichloromethane

Chloroform is a very good solvent. But on contact with air phosgene is formed which is the reason why chloroform is distributed with stabilisators like 1 % ethanol. It is not stable against base and may then perform vigorous reactions with acetone. In Germany chloroform is one of the few examples which is not labelled as to be carcinogenic but nevertheless has to be considered as to be carcinogenic. The reason is that on one hand chloroform has a harmonised EU-classification that it might be carcinogenic but in the TRGS 905 it is stated to be carcinogenic. Although the carcinogenic activity seems to be low, the corresponding regulations - for example the Hazardous Substances Ordinance apply.

In most cases it is easy to use dichloromethane instead. But in NMR-spectroscopy deuterated chloroform is the standard solvent and should remain in use there. This should be also possible for small amounts of non deuterated chloroform needed for checking the solubility of samples used in the NMR-spectroscopy.