Carbon tetrachloride (Carbon tet) is a non-flammable colorless liquid with a heavy, sweet odor. Before 1970, carbon tet was widely used as a cleaning fluid in home and industry. Until 1986, the chemical was used as a grain fumigant. Carbon tet is still used to manufacture propellants and other industrial chemicals. In homes, carbon tet may be found in containers of spot remover or in fire extinguishers made before 1970.
Carbon tet evaporates quickly and is heavier than water. If carbon tet is spilled in lakes or streams, most of it sinks. If spilled on soil, most of the chemical will evaporate and the vapors will gather near the ground surface.
Can a medical test determine exposure to carbon tetrachloride?
Carbon tet can be measured in exhaled breath, blood, fat and other tissues. The tests will confirm exposure but will not predict future health effects. People who are regularly exposed to carbon tet may benefit from having their doctor monitor their blood count, liver function and kidney function.
Seek medical advice if you have any symptoms that you think may be related to chemical exposure.
(P-44590 Revised 05/2012)
This fact sheet summarizes information about this chemical and is not a complete listing of all possible effects. It does not refer to work exposure or emergency situations.