Chloroform is a clear liquid with an ether-like odor and a slightly sweet taste. It is a naturally-occurring chemical, but most of the chloroform in the environment is man-made. Chloroform is a member of a group of chemicals called "trihalomethanes." It is used to make coolants, as a fumigant for grain, and as a dry cleaning spot remover.
Chloroform can be formed during the break-down of chlorine-containing compounds, and may be found in small amounts in chlorinated drinking or swimming pool water. Chlorine treatment of drinking water is often necessary to prevent diseases that can be a major cause of illness.
Chloroform evaporates quickly. Most of the chloroform that ends up in lakes, streams, or soil evaporates into the air. However, chloroform that seeps through soil into ground-water can remain unchanged for many years.
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