Flammability and Explosibility

Carbon tetrachloride is noncombustible. Exposure to fire or high temperatures may lead to formation of phosgene, a highly toxic gas.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Carbon tetrachloride may react explosively with reactive metals such as the alkali metals, aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. It can also react violently with boron and silicon hydrides, and upon heating with DMF.

Storage and Handling

Carbon tetrachloride should be handled in the laboratory using the "basic prudent practices" described in Chapter 5.C.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water for 15 min (lifting upper and lower lids occasionally) and obtain medical attention. If carbon tetrachloride is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If large amounts of this compound are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, soak up carbon tetrachloride with a spill pillow or absorbent material, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Respiratory protection may be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area.


Excess carbon tetrachloride and waste material containing this substance should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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