Agent Name

Ethyl formate

Alternative Name

Formic acid, ethyl ester

CAS Number

109-94-4

Formula

C3-H6-O2

Major Category

Solvents

Synonyms

Formic acid, ethyl ester; Aethylformiat [German]; Areginal; Carboxylic acid oxaethane; Ethyl formate; Ethyl formate (natural); Ethyl formic ester; Ethyl methanoate; Ethyle (formiate d') [French]; Ethylester kyseliny mravenci [Czech]; Ethylformiaat [Dutch]; Etile (formiato di) [Italian]; Formic acid, ethyl ester; Formic ether; Mrowczan etylu [Polish]; [ChemIDplus] UN1190

Category

Esters (<C12)

Description

Colorless liquid with a fruity odor; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used as flavoring agent, solvent for nitrocellulose, and reagent in organic synthesis; Also used as a fungicide/larvacide for tobacco, cereals, and dried fruit; [ACGIH]

Comments

Liquid causes second degree burns after contact for a few minutes. [CHRIS] The anesthetic potency of ethyl formate is greater than ethanol, acetone, and alkanes such as pentane, but less than chlorinated hydrocarbons and ethyl ether. TLV Basis = upper respiratory tract irritant; Reported to be irritating at 321 ppm; [ACGIH] Esters may induce narcosis in animals, but workers' exposures are limited by irritating effects. See appendix in: [Dick RB, et al. Chemicals in the workplace: incorporating human neurobehavioral testing into the regulatory process. Am J Ind Med. 1998 May;33(5):439-53.] Inhalation of high concentrations causes drowsiness and unconsciousness; A skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant; [ICSC]

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

STEL (ACGIH)

100 ppm

PEL (OSHA)

100 ppm

MAK

100 ppm

IDLH (NIOSH)

1500 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

It has been reported that 330 ppm produced slight eye irritation and rapidly increasing nasal irritation [Flury and Zernik 1931].

Vapor Pressure

245 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

18 ppm

Odor Threshold High

20 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LCLo (rat) = 8,000 ppm/4H

Explanatory Notes

Odor threshold from AIHA; Flash point = -20 deg C;

Reference Link

ICSC: Ethyl formate

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Neurotoxin

CNS Solvent Syndrome

Dermatotoxin

Skin Burns

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

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Chemical Information

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Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: