Jubel Sanabria Mrs.

Rousch Period 6 Chemistry 4/10/13 Chloroform Essay Chloroform is an anesthetic that is inhaled, and was once a widely used one. However, nowadays it isn’t because of its toxic side effects. Chloroform is another name for the colorless, dense, liquid chemical compound trichloromethane. Chloroform is nearly 40 times as sweet as sugar and has a nice odor. It is inflammable and can be used for industrial purposes like R-22 (air-conditioning), a solvent, a fire extinguishing material, and as a chemical reagent for use in synthetic reactions. Its primary use now is as an organic solvent. It is an interesting topic as chloroform is often portrayed in media as a chemical that can cause a victim that inhaled it to fall asleep quite rapidly, but in reality it takes more variables for that to happen; because of its hazardousness, it’s rarely used for treatment. Chloroform is a dense, colorless liquid made up of CHCl3 (Carbon, Hydrogen, and chlorine) and is known for being hazardous. Chloroform can be created by heating a mixture of chlorine and either chloromethane or methane. As a solvent, it is commonly used in the lab because it is relatively unreactive. It forms a homogenous mixture when added to something, and can easily be evaporated at normal temperatures. Chloroform is a great solvent for alkaloids in their base form so plant material is usually extracted with chloroform for pharmaceutical processing, like being used for commerce to extract morphine from poppies. As a reagent in organic synthesis, chloroform is a source of the dichlorocarbene CCl2 group. Chloroform has also been used in an experimental heat engine in the place of steam. Chloroform can also be used as an anesthetic, although, it isn’t a very safe one.

Chloroform was once used a lot as an anesthetic. The vapor depresses the central nervous system, so it lets the doctor do certain types of procedures. An oral dose as small as 10ml can be fatal, and constant inhaling of it can inflict damage on the liver and the kidneys. A couple of breaths of chloroform will produce a head rush and cause one to be giddy. Breathing it for a longer period of time will eventually cause unconsciousness, but this will take minutes; not seconds, and the person will wake up almost immediately if the source of chloroform is removed. In the US, chloroform was used as an anesthetic to replace ether, but shortly after the discovery of its toxicity, it was abandoned. Chloroform is also suspected of causing cancer, as liver and kindey tumors have been reported in lab animals exposed to it. The effect of chloroform can last 1 to 2 hours, but it depends on the individual and the dosage. Chloroform is an interesting topic to research as it is kind of the same case with drugs like meth and marijuana: it’s subject to jokes and used by bad people sometimes. A lot of media has depicted chloroform as being dipped in a rag and used on victims for kidnapping, like TinTin. Chloroform was once used in small doses to treat various medical problems, like cholera, gonorrhea, and cramps to name a few. When used improperly however, the doses led to serious things like coma and death. The sleep inducing chemical concoction was also once used in certain household items, like toothpaste and cough syrup, but the uses for those were banned in 1976. Being a hazardous substance, it also has been known to be used by people committing suicide. However, it takes only the right amount of dosage (about 0.12 moles) in order to truly be knocked out by its aroma. Chloroform is widely seen in media as something used by bad people like criminals and do awful things later. Whilst seen like a method of instant sleepz, chloroform actually takes a precise amount of dosage for one to really be dropped like Nyquil. Because of its dangerous properties, it not common to be used in medical treatment and is mainly for industrial purposes (Its one major use in industry being

involved in the production of R-22, commonly used in air conditioning). It is not safe to inhale chloroform for prolonged periods of time, as it can lead to internal damage like to the liver, kindeys. Worst case scenario it can lead to death. Although a lot of chloroform is created by nature in the atmosphere, most of it is man-made.

Works Cited

“Chemical Fact Sheet – Chloroform” 24 August 2012 http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/chloroform.htm

Stratmann, Linda. Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion. Gloucester: Sutton Publishing- 2003. Print.

“Knock-out and Chloroform". The Philadelphia record. 9 February 1894. Retrieved 31 March 2011.

Martin, William (July 3, 1886). "A Case of Chloroform Poisoning; Recovery". Br Med J 2 (1331): 16–17. PMC 2257365

Chloroform, US Environmental Protection Agency

Current Intelligence Bulletin 9: Chloroform (DDM)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov.

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