Phosgene Information



Other Names

Carbonyl dichloride; Carbonic dichloride; Chloroformyl chloride

Chemical Formula

COCl2; CCl2O

CAS Number

75 – 44 – 5

Industry Uses

Chemical Warfare; Chemical Laboratories; Pesticides

Health Risks

Irritation; Vomiting; Foamy Sputum; Dyspnea; Respiratory Damage; Death

Vapor Pressure

1.6 atm

Water Solubility

Slightly Soluble, may react




Musty Hay

Phosgene MSDS

What is Phosgene?

Phosgene is a colorless gas or low-boiling, volatile liquid. High concentrations may appear like a white or yellowish fog-like cloud. Its odor is suffocating and similar to musty or moldy hay. Phosgene is a highly toxic gas that has been used for chemical warfare. It is an insidious poison, as it is not irritating immediately even when fatal concentrations are inhaled. Phosgene is a chemical intermediate which is how it is most often encountered, though it is present in some pesticides. If heated under pressure, it can explode and rocket violently. It is not combustible. When heated to decomposition or on contact with water or steam, it can react to produce toxic and corrosive fumes. It reacts violently with aluminum, lithium, potassium, and sodium. It is stable in dry steel containers. Sodium bicarbonate can be used to neutralize liquid spills, and ammonia be used for gaseous spills.

Phosgene Exposure and Health Risks

Phosgene is extremely dangerous and highly toxic by all routes of exposure. When contacted directly, skin burns and frost bite may occur. Inhaling low concentrations can cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract. It is a lung toxicant that causes damage to capillaries, bronchioles, and alveoli. Other symptoms are dry, burning throat, vomiting, cough, foamy sputum, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), chest pain, and cyanosis. Severe respiratory effects including pulmonary edema, emphysema, and death can occur after high concentration inhalation. Death can occur within 36 hours of exposure.


The table below summarizes the most-recent exposure limits.




Not Recommended

AEGL-1 (8 hrs)


0.04 ppm

AEGL-2 (8 hrs)


0.09 ppm

AEGL-3 (8 hrs)


100 ppb

TWA (8 hrs)


0.1 ppm

TWA (8 hrs)


0.2 ppm

C (15 min)



Measuring Phosgene

Phosgene concentration in the air can be measured in units of parts per million (ppm). Many of our products have digital communication capabilities for easy monitoring and control. We carry portable and fixed Phosgene monitors and kits. All of our Phosgene products can be viewed HERE.

Contact us for help choosing the right monitor for your application