A colorless liquid with a pungent odor. Flash point 66°F. Very toxic by inhalation. Corrosive to metals and tissue. Vapors are heavier than air. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or short exposure to high concentrations may have adverse health effects from inhalation.
Inhalation causes mucous membrane irritation, coughing, and sneezing. Vapor causes severe lachrymation; liquid causes acid-type burns of eyes and skin, like those of hydrochloric acid. Ingestion causes severe burns of mouth and stomach.
Special Hazards of Combustion Products: Toxic chlorine and phosgene gases may be formed in fires.
Air & Water Reactions
Highly flammable. Emits fumes containing HCl on contact with moist air. Decomposes exothermically but slowly in water.
Colorless to yellow liquid
Wash the ester several times with water, redistil it using an efficient fractionating column at atmospheric pressure and a CaCl2 guard tube to keep free from moisture [Hamilton & Sly J Am Chem Soc 47 435 1925, Saunders et al. J Am Chem Soc 73 3796 1951]. [Beilstein 3 IV 23.] LACHRYMATORY AND TOXIC.
Ethyl chloroformate decomposes slowly in water to form ethanol, HCl, and CO2 Attacks many metals especially in humid atmosphere [Handling Chemicals Safely 1980. p. 476]. May react vigorously or explosively if mixed with diisopropyl ether or other ethers in the presence of trace amounts of metal salts [J. Haz. Mat., 1981, 4, 291].
Cathyl Chloride is used in the preparation of new inhibitors for β-homocysteine S-methyltransferase. Also used in the synthesis of a hexosaminidase inhibitor.