Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 14:23:11 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**>
From: "Mackey, Elizabeth A. Dr." <elizabeth.mackey**At_Symbol_Here**NIST.GOV>
Subject: Re: Storage of Chlorinated Solvents and Flammables
In-Reply-To: <65B44A27DE12364E9E00E24D979EEC2A029271**At_Symbol_Here**usvfmbx02>

Hi Pat,

That sounded very familiar to me so I looked in my references and on line.
Phosgene is produced from mixing chlorine gas and carbon monoxide in the
presence of a catalyst.  I found two sources that mention production of
phosgene via fires of organics-- the first is an old EPA document
(EPA-450/4-84-007i, September 1985) on phosgene that reported the
"potential" for phosgene production during a fire (see quote, below).

"The potential for phosgene generation by chlorocarbon decomposition
exists at chlorocarbon producing facilities, metallurgical operations,
drycleaning and degreasing facilities, certain types of industrial fires,
and wherever solvents contact heat or ultraviolet light."

And more recently, in 1998, this information was provided in IPCS
106,  (

"Phosgene decomposes on heating above 300 °C producing chlorine and carbon
monoxide.  It is formed by thermal decomposition of chlorinated solvents,
e.g., chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, tri- and tetra-chloroethylene and
methylene chloride, as well as by the thermal degradation of chlorinated
polymers. "
I do not know how much phosgene could feasibly be produced by a fire,
since it could be formed as well as decomposed by heat but this at least
gives you some information.

==========================Elizabeth A. Mackey, Ph.D.
Safety Program Coordinator
Materials Measurement Laboratory
100 Bureau Drive, Mailstop 8500
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

On 10/27/11 8:55 AM, "Peifer, Patricia" 


I have asked our staff to store chlorinated solvents separately from
flammable substances.  I know that this is generally good practice, but I
also read that some chlorinated solvents can react with some flammables
to produce phosgene, and perhaps other toxic gases as well.  This made
some sense to me since I know chlorinated solvents can produce these
gases when exposed to heat or UV.

I am being challenged on this and asked to produce the names of
flammables that will react with chlorinated solvents upon contact to
produce dangerous gases.  Does anyone have information on this?   Are
there other compelling reasons not to store chlorinated solvents with

Pat Peifer, CHO
Safety and Chemical Hygiene Specialist
West Pharmaceutical Services
101 Gordon Drive
Lionville,  PA  19341
Find West on Twitter  and

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