Chloroform, an important industrial solvent

Where to buy chloroform in India?

Chloroform can be purchased from a scientific, industrial, or chemical supply company. It can also be bought from a chemical dealer, and it is easily available at any chemical supply store. With the digital trend slowly moving to the chemical industry, chloroform can also be purchased from an online chemical marketplace such as Since chloroform is easily available in India, it doesn’t mean one can use it as they do in thriller books or movies; the usage is still regulated by the law.

Chloroform is highly toxic and the supply is heavily regulated by the government in many countries. It has been banned as a consumer product in the United States since 1976 and it’s used only for industrial and scientific applications.

Chloroform: Product Description

Chloroform, also called trichloromethane, is an organic compound with chemical formula CHCl3. It is a clear, colorless liquid that is denser than water and has a pleasant, sweet odor. It was earlier used as an anesthetic as it causes temporary unconsciousness, but it was later banned and no longer used in medical procedures due to its toxic nature.

Chloroform is naturally present in the atmosphere too. Lower levels of chloroform are present in the air and water, especially water in inland rivers, lakes, coastal waters, and groundwater. Due to its high volatility, chloroform volatilizes readily from soil and surface water. It has been found out that it undergoes degradation in the air to produce dichloromethane, phosgene, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, formyl chloride, and hydrogen chloride. Though, the half-life of chloroform in air ranges from 55 to 620 days, the biodegradation in water and soil is extremely slow.

Since chloroform is widely used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry; it is produced on the industrial scale by heating a mixture of chlorine and chloromethane (or methane). Chloroform is an important compound and used as a solvent or reagent in various chemical processes.

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History of Chloroform

Chloroform was prepared by several chemists independently during 1830. An American chemist Dr. Samuel Guthrie in the year 1831, prepared chloroform by combining ethanol with chlorinated lime. A similar process was used by Eugène Soubeiran, a French scientist to obtain chloroform by the action of chlorine bleach on both ethanol and acetone. Moldenhawer, a German pharmacist, also prepared chloroform by mixing chlorinated lime with ethanol. But he mistook it to be 1,2-dichloroethane and not trichloromethane (chloroform).

Robert Mortimer Glover, an English physician, first discovered the anesthetic qualities of chloroform on laboratory animals in the year 1842. Later in 1847, James Y. Simpson, a Scottish obstetrician, confirmed the anesthetic property of chloroform in human beings, this popularized it in the medicinal field. By the 1850s, chloroform had become important in the medical procedures and was being produced on a commercial scale. It continued to be a popular anesthetic in medicine until 1960s, nearly a millennium after being first prepared as an anesthetic, and later got restricted to use of solvent and reagent in chemical reaction, due to its toxic nature.

Today, chloroform is available to buy online, online chemical marketplaces are making it easy to purchase these useful chemicals.

Applications of chloroform

  • Chloroform is used as an industrial solvent
  • A smaller amount of chloroform is used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Chloroform is used in the production of the refrigerant R-22
  • Chloroform, in smaller quantity, is used for the production of dyes and pesticides
  • Used in the manufacture of pesticides, rubber, resin, wax, and other substances
  • Used in pesticide formulation
  • Used as a cleansing agent in fire extinguisher
  • CDCl3 (Deuterated Chloroform) is a commonly used solvent in NMR spectroscopy

Chloroform as an anesthetic

The process of anesthesia can be traced back to the ancient times of Babylonians, Incas, Greeks, and Chinese. The use of Hashish and Indian hemp as anesthesia is mentioned in Britain’s History of Anesthesia Society. However, until the 1800s, patients were given opium or alcohol to agonize the pain of surgery.

William T.G. Morton, a dentist from Boston, was the first to introduce anesthesia in the year 1846. He used sulfuric ether to anesthetize a person during a surgery. During 1847; James Y. Simpson, an obstetrician Professor from Scotland, used chloroform to ease pain in women during childbirth. Chloroform replaced ether as an anesthetic in medical surgery due to the extreme flammability of the ether and its side effects even with small amounts.

Lesser known facts about chloroform

  • It requires a minimum of five minutes of inhaling of any substance soaked in chloroform to render a person unconscious
  • Chloroform was used as an anesthetic to reduce pain during medical procedures until mid-1900
  • Chloroform when comes in contact with direct sunlight, converts into a highly poisonous compound called Phosgene
  • Phosgene was used as a chemical weapon during World War I
  • Chloroform, when inhaled by a pregnant woman in excess, can cause birth defects in the child or may also lead to miscarriages
  • The US EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency) says chloroform is 40 times sweeter than sugar
  • Chloroform was administered to Queen Victoria during childbirth
  • Chloroform is a popular tool for kidnappers in fictional books and movies
  • Chloroform is highly poisonous and can cause breathing problems and cardiac arrest
  • Death from chloroform is due to cardiac arrest
  • Chloroform was once used in a variety of household products, including toothpaste, skin ointments, and cough syrups
  • Chloroform can remove lipstick stains

Side effects of chloroform

Studies have revealed that chloroform is a toxic substance and causes various side effects on human beings. Some of the side effects of chloroform exposure are listed out below.

Acute inhalation can cause:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritation of the nose and the throat
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

Exposure to high concentrations can cause:

  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Death

Dermal exposure can cause:

  • Irritation and redness in the affected area
  • Prolonged exposure may result in systemic toxicity, dermatitis, and burns

Acute ocular exposure can cause:

  • Stinging sensation
  • Irritation of the conjunctival tissue
  • Corneal necrosis
  • Ulcers

Chloroform: International Market

The increasing demand for chloroform in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and chemical industry is the major market driver. According to a report by Research Cosmos, the chloroform market is estimated to reach $9.17 billion by 2023 growing at a CAGR of 3.2% from 2017 to 2023. The global chloroform market is segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa; with the Asia Pacific and North America being the major chloroform manufacturers and estimated to be the most potential market even in the coming years.

The increasing pharmaceutical and medicine production and the underlying dependency on chloroform has made the US, the UK, Germany, and Spain, as the prominent consumers of chloroform.

Key players in the chloroform market

The major players in the manufacturing of chloroform and its derivatives are:

  • Dow Chemicals
  • Tokuyama Corporation
  • Solvay
  • Akzonobel
  • Productos Aditivos
  • Ineos
  • Shin-Etsu Chemical
  • Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited
  • Arihant Chemicals

Chloroform: Indian Market

According to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), India is one of the major focuses of chemical supply to the world. It is the world’s seventh chemical export market, and third in the Asia Pacific region. The Indian chemical economy is immensely growing, and the country has over 70,000 chemical manufacturing units with approximately 80,000 commercial products being manufactured. The increasing chemical manufacturing in India has led to the increasing production of chloroform. Chloroform is extensively being used by the chemicals and pharmaceutical industries, which is fueling up the chloroform market. Product innovation and expansion in various countries across the globe is also a key strategy adopted by the major players to elevate the chloroform market.

The chloroform production and consumption have slowed down, not only in India but across the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. The market will operate normally and produce the optimal amount of chloroform after the COVID-19 situation is in control. Till then, if you have an urgent requirement for chloroform for your industrial or pharmaceutical use, buy chloroform online at