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542-88-1 Usage


Bis(chloromethyl)ether, also known as BCME, is a colorless, volatile liquid with a chloroform-like odor. It is toxic by inhalation, skin absorption, and ingestion, and poses a dangerous fire risk due to its low flash point. BCME is not found naturally and is produced in small quantities in the United States, primarily for use in enclosed systems to make other chemicals.


1. Used in Anion-Exchange Quaternary Resins:
BCME is used as an intermediate in the production of anion-exchange quaternary resins. However, its use as a chloromethylation reagent in the industry is being discontinued due to its high carcinogenic properties.
2. Used in the Formation of Ether Linked Dimers:
BCME serves as a reagent in the formation of ether-linked dimers, which are essential in various chemical processes.
3. Used in Paints and Varnish Production:
In the past, BCME was used to make paints and varnish, as well as a solvent for these applications. However, its use in these industries has been highly restricted due to its hazardous nature.
4. Used in Polymers, Resins, and Textiles Production:
BCME was previously utilized in the production of several types of polymers, resins, and textiles. However, its use in these areas is now highly restricted, and only small quantities are produced for use in enclosed systems to make other chemicals.
5. Impurity Formation during Chloromethyl Methyl Ether Production:
Small quantities of BCME may be formed as an impurity during the production of chloromethyl methyl ether. It can pose exposure risks when the latter compound comes into contact with traces of water in the presence of hydrogen or hydroxyl ions.
Chemical Properties:
BCME is a colorless, volatile liquid with a strong, unpleasant odor.
It dissolves easily in water but degrades rapidly and readily evaporates into the air.
BCME is toxic and poses a significant fire risk, with vapors much denser than air and a flash point below 0°F.
It is insoluble in water and denser than water.

Air & Water Reactions

Highly flammable. Insoluble in water. Reacts with water to form hydrochloric acid & formaldehyde.

Reactivity Profile

DICHLORODIMETHYL ETHER is incompatible with the following: Acids, water [Note: Reacts with water to form hydrochloric acid & formaldehyde.] .


A carcinogen. Toxic by ingestion.

Health Hazard

BCME is a highly toxic and carcinogeniccompound. The inhalation toxicity and car cinogenicity of this compound are greatestamong the haloethersExposure to its vapors can cause irritationof the eyes, nose, and throat in humans. Theprimary target organ is the lungs. Inhalationof 100 ppm of this compound in air for afew minutes can cause death to humans.Irritation of the eyes can be moderate tosevere and conjunctival. The acute oral anddermal toxicity of this compound, however,is moderate and comparable to that of bis(2-chloroethyl)etherLC50 value, inhalation (rats): 33 mg (7ppm)/m3/7 hrLD50 value, oral (rats): 210 mg/kg (NIOSH1986)Tests on animals have confirmed the car cinogenic action of BCME. It is carcinogenicby inhalation and by subcutaneous and skinapplications. In humans it can produce lungcancer — a fact that is now well established.Tests on rats indicate that exposure to 0.1-ppm concentrations in air for 6 hours per dayfor 6 months produced tumors in the noseand lungs. Subcutaneous and skin applicationsproduced tumors at the site of application.

Health Hazard

Acute toxicity is high by ingestion, inhalation, and skin irritation. Small quantities may cause death or permanent injury after very short exposure. Chloromethyl ether is an alkylating agent which is a recognized human carcinogen. There is a strong association between industrial exposure and excess lung cancer.

Health Hazard

Exposures to bis(chloromethyl) ether cause irritation to the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs, and in cases of severe exposures cause damage to the lungs (swelling and bleeding) and death. Breathing low concentrations will cause coughing and nose and throat irritation.

Fire Hazard

Container may explode in heat of fire. When heated to decomposition, BIS(CHLOROMETHYL)ETHER emits very toxic fumes of chlorides. Decomposed by water to hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde. Avoid water: hydrolyzes very rapidly (half life 10-40 seconds) on contact with water. Avoid decomposing heat, powerful oxidizers, areas of high fire hazard and moist air.

Potential Exposure

Exposure to bis(chloromethyl)ether may occur in industry and in the laboratory. This substance can form spontaneously in warm moist air by the combination of formaldehyde and hydrogen chloride. This compound is used as an alkylating agent in the manufacture of polymers; as a solvent for polymerization reactions; in the preparation of ion exchange resins; and as an intermediate for organic synthesis. Haloethers, primarily α-chloromethyl ethers, represent a category of alkylating agents of increasing concern due to the establishment of a causal relationship between occupational exposure to two agents of this class and lung cancer in the United States and abroad. The cancers are mainly oat cell carcinomas. Potential sources of human exposure to BCME appear to exist primarily in areas including: (1) its use in chloromethylating (crosslinking) reaction mixtures in anion-exchange resin production; (2) segments of the textile industry using formaldehydecontaining reactants and resins in the finishing of fabric and as adhesive in the laminating and flocking of fabrics; and (3) the nonwoven industry which uses as binders, thermosetting acrylic emulsion polymers comprising methylol acrylamide, since a finite amount of formaldehyde is liberated on the drying and curing of these bonding agents. NIOSH has confirmed the spontaneous formation of BCME from the reaction of formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid in some textile plants and is now investigating the extent of possible worker exposure to the carcinogen. However, this finding has been disputed by industrial tests in which BCME was not formed in air by the reaction of textile systems employing hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde.


Bis(chloromethyl) ether (BCME) is known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans.


sym-Dichloromethyl ether may form as an intermediate by-product when form-aldehyde reacts with chloride ions under acidic conditions (Frankel et al., 1974; Tou and Kallos, 1974a; Travenius, 1982). Tou and Kallos (1974) reported that the reactants (formaldehyde and chloride ions) must be in concentrations of mg/L to form sym-dichloromethyl ether at concentrations of μg/L. Chloromethyl methyl ether may contain 1 to 8% sym-dichloromethyl ether as an impurity (Environment Canada, 1993a).

Environmental fate

Chemical/Physical. Reacts rapidly with water forming HCl and formaldehyde (Fishbein, 1979; Tou et al., 1974). Tou et al. (1974) reported a hydrolysis half-life of 38 sec for sym-dichloromethyl ether at 20 °C. Anticipated products from the reaction of sym-dichloromethyl ether with ozone or OH radicals in the atmosphere, excluding the decomposition products formaldehyde and HCl, are chloromethyl formate and formyl chloride (Cupitt, 1980).


UN2249 Dichlorodimethyl ether, symmetrical, Hazard class: 6.1; Labels: 6.1—Poisonous materials, 3— Flammable liquid.

Toxicity evaluation

No information is available on the transport and partitioning of BCME in the environment. Due to the relatively short half-life in both air and water, it is unlikely that significant partitioning between media or transport occurs. Primary process for BCME degradation in air is believed to be reaction with photochemically generated hydroxyl radicals to yield chloromethyl formate ClCHO, formaldehyde, and HCl. Atmospheric half-life due to reaction with hydroxyl radicals is estimated to be 1.36 h. Hydrolysis in the vapor phase is found to be slower with an estimated half-life of 25 h. BCME is rapidly hydrolyzed in water to yield formaldehyde and HCl, and the hydrolysis rate constant is estimated to be 0.018 s-1at 20°C, which is equal to a half-life of ~35 s. No information is available on the fate of BCME in soil. It is probable that BCME would rapidly degrade upon contact with moisture in soil. Due to its high volatile nature, it is not expected that BCME would persist in soil for significant periods.


May form explosive mixture with air. Incompatible with oxidizers (chlorates, nitrates, peroxides, permanganates, perchlorates, chlorine, bromine, fluorine, etc.); contact may cause fires or explosions. Keep away from alkaline materials, strong bases, strong acids, oxoacids, epoxides. Decomposes on contact with water, moist air, and heat, forming corrosive hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride, and formaldehyde vapors. May form shocksensitive compounds on contact with oxidizers, peroxides, and sunlight. Attacks many plastics.

Waste Disposal

Incineration, preferably after mixing with another combustible fuel. Care must be exercised to assure complete combustion to prevent the formation of phosgene. An acid scrubber is necessary to remove the halo acids produced.

Check Digit Verification of cas no

The CAS Registry Mumber 542-88-1 includes 6 digits separated into 3 groups by hyphens. The first part of the number,starting from the left, has 3 digits, 5,4 and 2 respectively; the second part has 2 digits, 8 and 8 respectively.
Calculate Digit Verification of CAS Registry Number 542-88:
71 % 10 = 1
So 542-88-1 is a valid CAS Registry Number.



According to Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) - Sixth revised edition

Version: 1.0

Creation Date: Aug 18, 2017

Revision Date: Aug 18, 2017


1.1 GHS Product identifier

Product name chloro(chloromethoxy)methane

1.2 Other means of identification

Product number -
Other names dichlorodimethyl ether

1.3 Recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on use

Identified uses For industry use only. Nitrosamines/ethers/alcohols
Uses advised against no data available

1.4 Supplier's details

1.5 Emergency phone number

Emergency phone number -
Service hours Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +8 hours).

More Details:542-88-1 SDS

542-88-1Relevant articles and documents


, p. 1143 (1969)



Paragraph 00307; 00308, (2019/10/01)

Disclosed herein are compounds, compositions, formulations, and methods for modulating the A2B adenosine receptor.



Paragraph 0154; 0155; 0156, (2014/07/09)

Provided is a glucoside compound, which is capable of providing a phosphoramidite, which can be produced at a low cost and can produce a nucleic acid in a high yield and with high purity. A glycoside compound represented by the following chemical formula (1). In the chemical formula (1), B is an atomic group having a nucleic acid base skeleton, and optionally having a protecting group, R1 and R2 are each a hydrogen atom or a protecting group, or R1 and R2 in conjunction optionally form an atomic group represented by the following chemical formula (R1R2A) or (R1R2B): each R1a is a hydrogen atom, a straight chain or branched alkyl group and the like, L1 is an unsubstituted or alkyl-substituted ethylene group, R3 is a group represented by the following chemical formula (R3): in the chemical formula (R3), n is a positive integer, and [D1] is an electron-withdrawing group.

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