CAS No. 75-44-5
Phosgene (COCl₂) is a colorless gas with a suffocating odor like musty hay. Exposure to phosgene may cause irritation to the eyes, dry burning throat, vomiting, cough, foamy sputum, breathing difficulty, and chest pain; and when liquid: frostbite. Workers may be harmed from exposure to phosgene. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.
Phosgene is used in many industries. It’s used in the manufacture of other chemicals, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to phosgene include the following:
- Workers in plants where dyes are manufactured
- Workers who use it in the production of polymers
- Workers who use it to make pesticides
- Workers in pharmaceutical plants
- Workers who use it to separate ores
- Workers who weld metals cleaned with chlorinated solvents
NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses phosgene, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.
The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to phosgene. Useful search terms for phosgene include “carbon oxychloride,” “carbonyl chloride,” “carbonyl dichloride,” and “chloroformyl chloride.”
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on phosgene.
- NIOSHTIC-2 search results for phosgene – NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of worker safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
- NIOSH Worker Health Study Summaries – NIOSH conducts research to prevent illnesses and injuries in the workplace. The NIOSH Worker Notification Program notifies workers and other stakeholders about the findings of these research studies.
- Emergency Response Safety and Health Database: Phosgene—The Emergency Response Safety and Health Database (ERSH-DB) provides information on high-priority chemical, biological and radiological agents that could be encountered by personnel responding to a terrorist event.
- Documentation for Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Concentrations: Phosgene—The IDLH documents the criteria and information sources that have been used by NIOSH to determine immediately dangerous to life or health concentrations.
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Phosgene DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 76-137 (1974). Presents a standard to prevent the adverse effects of exposure to Phosgene over a working lifetime.
- Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Phosgene—This guideline helps stakeholders conduct effective occupational safety and health programs.
- ATSDR Toxic Substances: Phosgene
- ATSDR Tox FAQs
- ATSDR Medical Management Guidelines: Phosgene
- CDC Facts About Phosgene
- EPA Acute Exposure Guideline Levels: Phosgene
- EPA Integrated Risk Information System: Phosgene
- NIH Pub Chem: Phosgene
- NLM (Hazardous Substance Data Bank): Phosgene
- NLM (Haz-Map): Phosgene
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Phosgene
- OSHA Sampling and Analytical Methods: Phosgene
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets: Phosgene
- EPA Chemistry Dashboard
- OSHA Hazard Communication
- ILO International Chemical Safety Card: Phosgene
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Search for results on phosgene
- Gestis Substance Database
- IPCS INCHEM Poison Information Monograph 419: Phosgene
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substances
- WHO (Health and Safety Guide 106): Phosgene
- WHO (Environmental Health Criteria 193): Phosgene
- Page last reviewed: November 2, 2018
- Page last updated: November 2, 2018
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division