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Chloroform is ubiquitous in the environment. The northern hemisphere background average has been determined to be approximately 14 ppt and the global average is 8 ppt. After inhalation or ingestion, highest concentrations are found in tissues with high lipid content. Chloroform has been detected in fetal liver. Chloroform would be expected to appear in human milk, because it has been found in cow's milk, cheese, and butter. Subchronic and chronic toxicity experiments with rats, mice, and dogs did not clearly establish a no-effect exposure level for systemic toxicity. Chloroform appears to have teratogenic potential when inhaled. Delayed fetal development occurred at an exposure level (30 ppm) that produced minimal maternal effects. The majority of the assays for mutagenicity and genotoxicity have yielded negative results; however, many of these results are inconclusive because of various inadequacies in the experimental protocols used.
U.S. EPA. Health Assessment Document for Chloroform. Final Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-84/004F (NTIS PB86105004).