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Formic acid ( CASNO:64-18-6 )

Identification and Related Records
Formic acid
CAS Registry number:
Formic acid solution
Formic acid about 85%
Formic acid 90%
Formic acid 98/100%
Acide formique
Acide formique
Acido formico
Hydrogen carboxylic acid
Kwas metaniowy
Kyselina mravenci
methanoic acid
Molecular Formula:
Molecular Weight:
Canonical SMILES:
Chemical and Physical Properties
colorless liquid with a pungent odor
Melting Point:
Boiling Point:
Refractive Index:
Flash Point:
Colorless fuming liquid
Colorless liquid [Note: Often used in an aqueous solution].
Stable. Substances to be avoided include strong bases, strong oxidizing agents and powdered metals, furfuryl alcohol. Combustible. Hygroscopic. Pressure may build up in tightly closed bottles, so bottles should be opened carefully and vented periodically.
Storage temp:
Spectral properties:
Index of refraction: 1.3714 at 20 deg C/D
IR: 15 (Sadtler Research Laboratories IR Grating Collection)
1H NMR: 6653 (Sadtler Research Laboratories Spectral Collection)
MASS: 49305 (NIST/EPA/MSDC Mass Spectral Database 1990 version)
Computed Properties:
Molecular Weight:46.02538 [g/mol]
Molecular Formula:CH2O2
H-Bond Donor:1
H-Bond Acceptor:2
Rotatable Bond Count:0
Exact Mass:46.005479
MonoIsotopic Mass:46.005479
Topological Polar Surface Area:37.3
Heavy Atom Count:3
Formal Charge:0
Isotope Atom Count:0
Defined Atom Stereocenter Count:0
Undefined Atom Stereocenter Count:0
Defined Bond Stereocenter Count:0
Undefined Bond Stereocenter Count:0
Covalently-Bonded Unit Count:1
Feature 3D Acceptor Count:2
Feature 3D Anion Count:1
Effective Rotor Count:0
Conformer Sampling RMSD:0.4
CID Conformer Count:1
Safety and Handling
Hazard Codes:
Risk Statements:
Safety Statements:
?Poison by inhalation, intravenous, and intraperitoneal routes. Moderately toxic by ingestion. Mutation data reported. Corrosive. A skin and severe eye irritant. A substance migrating to food from packaging materials. Combustible liquid when exposed to heat or flame; can react vigorously with oxidizing materials. Explosive reaction with furfuryl alcohol, H2O2, Tl(NO3)3?3H2O, nitromethane, P2O5. To fight fire, use CO2, dry chemical, alcohol foam. When heated to decomposition it emits acrid smoke and irritating fumes.
Hazard Codes:?TC,Xi
Risk Statements: 23/24/25-34-40-43-35-36/38
R23/24/25: Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed.?
R34: Causes burns.?
R40: Limited evidence of a carcinogenic effect.?
R43: May cause sensitization by skin contact.?
R35: Causes severe burns.?
R36/38: Irritating to eyes and skin.
Safety Statements: 36/37-45-26-23-36/37/39
S36/37: Wear suitable protective clothing and gloves.?
S45: In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show the label whenever possible.)?
S26: In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice.?
S23: Do not breathe vapour.?
S36/37/39: Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves and eye/face protection.
RIDADR: UN 1198 3/PG 3
WGK Germany: 2
RTECS: LP8925000
F: 10
HazardClass: 8
PackingGroup: II
Skin, Eye, and Respiratory Irritations:
A skin and severe eye irritant.
Cleanup Methods:
Remove all ignition sources. Ventilate area of spill or leak. For small quantities, absorb on paper towels. Evaporate in a safe place (such as a fume hood). Allow sufficient time for evaporating vapors to completely clear the hood ductwork. Burn the paper in a suitable location away from combustible materials. Large quantities can be collected and atomized in a suitable combustion chamber equipped with an appropriate effluent gas cleaning device.
Environmental considerations--land spill: Dig a pit, pond, lagoon, holding area to contain liquid or solid material /SRP: If time permits, pits, ponds, lagoons, soak holes, or holding areas should be sealed with an impermeable flexible membrane liner./. Dike surface flow using soil, sand bags, foamed polyurethane, or foamed concrete. Absorb bulk liquid with fly ash or cement powder. Neutralize with agricultural lime ... crushed limestone (CaCO3) or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).
Environmental considerations--water spill: Neutralize with agricultural lime (CaO), crushed limestone (CaCO3) or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). Use mechanical dredges or lifts to remove immobilized masses of pollutants and precipitates.
Environmental considerations--air spill: Apply water spray or mist to knock down vapors. Vapor knockdown water is corrosive or toxic and should be diked for containment.
UN 1779
Fire Fighting Procedures:
Use water spray, dry chemical, "alcohol resistant" foam, or carbon dioxide. Use water spray to keep fire-exposed containers cool.
If material on fire or involved in fire: Use water in flooding quantities as fog. Solid streams of water may be ineffective. Cool all affected containers with flooding quantities of water. Apply water from as far a distance as possible. Use "alcohol" foam, carbon dioxide or dry chemical. Use water spray to knock-down vapors.
Fire Potential:
Open flames and other sources of ignition should not be allowed in ... vicinity of acid, particularly when it is at temperature above 69 deg C.
Grade: Technical: 85%; 90%; CP; FCC.
Usually available as 90% aqueous solutions.
Grades: 89-91% for 90% grade; > 98% for technical grade; > 99.5% for pharmaceutical grade. /From table/
DOT Emergency Guidelines:
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Health: TOXIC; inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with material may cause severe injury or death. Contact with molten substance may cause severe burns to skin and eyes. Avoid any skin contact. Effects of contact or inhalation may be delayed. Fire may produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may be corrosive and/or toxic and cause pollution.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Fire or Explosion: Combustible material: may burn but does not ignite readily. When heated, vapors may form explosive mixtures with air: indoors, outdoors, and sewers explosion hazards. Those substances designated with a "P" may polymerize explosively when heated or involved in a fire. Contact with metals may evolve flammable hydrogen gas. Containers may explode when heated. Runoff may pollute waterways. Substance may be transported in a molten form.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Public Safety: CALL Emergency Response Telephone Number ... . As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area in all directions for at least 50 meters (150 feet) for liquids and at least 25 meters (75 feet) for solids. Keep unauthorized personnel away. Stay upwind. Keep out of low areas. Ventilate enclosed areas.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Protective Clothing: Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Wear chemical protective clothing that is specifically recommended by the manufacturer. It may provide little or no thermal protection. Structural firefighters' protective clothing provides limited protection in fire situations ONLY; it is not effective in spill situations where direct contact with the substance is possible.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Evacuation: ... Fire: If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Fire: Small fires: Dry chemical, CO2 or water spray. Large fires: Dry chemical, CO2, alcohol-resistant foam or water spray. Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk. Dike fire control water for later disposal; do not scatter the material. Fire involving tanks or car/trailer loads: Fight fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. Do not get water inside containers. Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after fire is out. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tank. ALWAYS stay away from tanks engulfed in fire.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ Spill or Leak: ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area). Do not touch damaged containers or spilled material unless wearing appropriate protective clothing. Stop leak if you can do it without risk. Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas. Absorb or cover with dry earth, sand or other non-combustible material and transfer to containers. DO NOT GET WATER INSIDE CONTAINERS.
/GUIDE 153: SUBSTANCES - TOXIC AND/OR CORROSIVE (COMBUSTIBLE)/ First Aid: Move victim to fresh air. Call 911 or emergency medical service. Give artificial respiration if victim is not breathing. Do not use mouth-to-mouth method if victim ingested or inhaled the substance; give artificial respiration with the aid of a pocket mask equipped with a one-way valve or other proper respiratory medical device. Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult. Remove and isolate contaminated clothing and shoes. In case of contact with substance, immediately flush skin or eyes with running water for at least 20 minutes. For minor skin contact, avoid spreading material on unaffected skin. Keep victim warm and quiet. Effects of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or skin contact) to substance may be delayed. Ensure that medical personnel are aware of the material(s) involved and take precautions to protect themselves.
Exposure Standards and Regulations:
Formic acid is a food additive permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption as a synthetic flavoring substance and adjuvant in accordance with the following conditions: a) they are used in the minimum quantity required to produce their intended effect, and otherwise in accordance with all the principles of good manufacturing practice, and 2) they consist of one or more of the following, used alone or in combination with flavoring substances and adjuvants generally recognized as safe in food, prior-sanctioned for such use, or regulated by an appropriate section in this part.
Formic acid may be safely used as a preservative in hay crop silage in an amount not to exceed 2.25 percent of the silage on a dry weight basis or 0.45 percent when direct-cut. The top foot of silage stored should not contain formic acid and silage should not be fed to livestock within 4 weeks of treatment.
Indirect food substance additives affirmed as generally recognized as safe. (a) Formic acid (CH2O2, CAS Reg. No. 64?18?6) is also referred to as methanoic acid or hydrogen carboxylic acid. It occurs naturally in some insects and is contained in the free acid state in a number of plants. Formic acid is prepared by the reaction of sodium formate with sulfuric acid and is isolated by distillation. (b) Formic acid is used as a constituent of paper and paperboard used for food packaging. (c) The ingredient is used at levels not to exceed good manufacturing practice in accordance with ?186.1(b)(1). (d) Prior sanctions for formic acid different from the uses established in this section do not exist or have been waived.
Drug products containing certain active ingredients offered over-the-counter (OTC) for certain uses. A number of active ingredients have been present in OTC drug products for various uses, as described below. However, based on evidence currently available, there are inadequate data to establish general recognition of the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients for the specified uses: formic acid is included in pediculicide drug products.
Reactivities and Incompatibilities:
The slow decomposition in storage of 98-100% formic acid with liberation of carbon monoxide led to rupture of the sealed glass containers. In absence of gas leakage, a full 2.5 L bottle would develop a pressure of over 7 bar during 1 yr at 25 deg C. Explosive decomposition of formic acid on a clean nickel ... surface was studied, using deuteroformic acid. A full 1 L bottle of 96% formic acid burst when the ambient temp fell to -6 deg C overnight and the contents froze and expanded. Gas pressure from previous partial decomposition may also have contributed.
/Aluminium/ ... reduces the acid (itself a reducant) with incandescence.
During prepn of ... /peroxyformic acid/ by a patented procedure involving interaction of formic acid with hydrogen peroxide in presence of metabolic acid, an explosion occurred which was attributed to spontaneous separation of virtually pure peroxyformic acid.
/Reacts/ ... explosively with oxidizing agents...
During an attempt to prepare furfuryl formate from furfuryl alcohol and concentrated formic acid, an explosion occurred.
A chemist working a 50-50 mixture of formic acid and 90% hydrogen peroxide, introduced a small amount of organic material into solution. When reaction had subsided, container was removed to a workbench. Later, when flask was picked up, material exploded violently.
In the production of formic acid, slurry of calcium formate in approx 50% aq formic acid containing urea is acidified with strong nitric acid to convert the calcium salt to free acid, and interaction of formic acid (reducant) with nitric acid (oxidant) is inhibited by the urea. When only 10% of the required amt of urea had been added ... addition of the nitric acid caused a runaway (redox) reaction to occur which burst the (vented) vessel.
Addition of ... acids to nitromethane renders it susceptible to initiation by a detonator. These include ... formic, nitric, sulfuric or phosphoric acids.
Addition of dry /palladium-carbon/ catalyst to 98% formic acid used as a hydrogenation solvent can be extremely hazardous, because hydrogen is released by decomposition of the acid.
Removal of formic acid from industrial waste streams with sodium hypochlorite soln becomes explosive at 55 deg C.
A violent reaction occurred when a small amount of vanillin was added to thallium trinitrate trihydrate (up to 50%) in 90% formic acid.
Strong oxidizers, strong caustics, concentrated sulfuric acid [Note: Corrosive to metals].
Attempted dehydration of 95% acid to anhydrous formic acid caused rapid evolution of carbon monoxide.
The explosion limits have been determined for liquid systems containing hydrogen peroxide, water and... formic acid... . In general, explosive behavior is noted where the ratio of hydrogen peroxide to water is >1, and if the overall fuel-peroxide composition is stoichiometric, the explosive power and sensitivity may be equivalent to those of glyceryl nitrate.
The use of excess formic acid to destroy excess nitric acid in nuclear fuel reprocessing waste solutions at 100 deg C is potentially hazardous because of an induction period, high exothermicity and the evolution of large amounts of gas, mainly carbon dioxide, dinitrogen oxide and nitrogen oxide, with some nitrogen and dinitrogen tetroxide.
Other Preventative Measures:
SRP: The scientific literature for the use of contact lenses in industry is conflicting. The benefit or detrimental effects of wearing contact lenses depend not only upon the substance, but also on factors including the form of the substance, characteristics and duration of the exposure, the uses of other eye protection equipment, and the hygiene of the lenses. However, there may be individual substances whose irritating or corrosive properties are such that the wearing of contact lenses would be harmful to the eye. In those specific cases, contact lenses should not be worn. In any event, the usual eye protection equipment should be worn even when contact lenses are in place.
Clothing contaminated with formic acid should be placed in closed containers for storage until it can be discarded or until provision is made for the removal of formic acid from clothing. If the clothing is to be laundered or otherwise cleaned to remove the formic acid, the person performing the operation should be informed of formic acid's hazardous properties.
If material not on fire and not involved in fire: Keep sparks, flames, and other sources of ignition away. Keep material out of water sources and sewers. Build dikes to contain flow as necessary. Use water spray to knock-down vapors. Neutralize spilled material with crushed limestone, soda ash, or lime.
Personnel protection: Avoid breathing vapors. Keep upwind. Avoid bodily contact with the material. Do not handle broken packages unless wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Wash away any material which may have contacted the body with copious amounts of water or soap and water. If contact with the material anticipated, wear appropriate chemical protective clothing.
Provide emergency showers and eyewash.
SRP: Contaminated protective clothing should be segregated in such a manner so that there is no direct personal contact by personnel who handle, dispose, or clean the clothing. Quality assurance to ascertain the completeness of the cleaning procedures should be implemented before the decontaminated protective clothing is returned for reuse by the workers.
The worker should immediately wash the skin when it becomes contaminated.
Work clothing that becomes wet or significantly contaminated should be removed and replaced.
Do not eat, drink, or smoke during work.
Protective Equipment and Clothing:
Self-contained breathing apparatus; chemical goggles or face shield; rubber suit, gloves, and shoes.
Breakthrough times greater than one hour reported by two or more testers for natural rubber, neoprene, and polyvinyl chloride.
Some data suggesting breakthrough times of approximately an hour or more for nitrile rubber.
Wear appropriate personal protective clothing to prevent skin contact.
Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent eye contact.
Eyewash fountains should be provided in areas where there is any possibility that workers could be exposed to the substance; this is irrespective of the recommendation involving the wearing of eye protection.
Facilities for quickly drenching the body should be provided within the immediate work area for emergency use where there is a possibility of exposure. [Note: It is intended that these facilities provide a sufficient quantity or flow of water to quickly remove the substance from any body areas likely to be exposed. The actual determination of what constitutes an adequate quick drench facility depends on the specific circumstances. In certain instances, a deluge shower should be readily available, whereas in others, the availability of water from a sink or hose could be considered adequate.]
Respirator Recommendations: Up to 30 ppm: (Assigned Protection Factor = 10) Any supplied-air respirator. Substance reported to cause eye irritation or damage; may require eye protection./(Assigned Protection Factor = 50) Any self-contained breathing apparatus with a full facepiece.
Respirator Recommendations: Emergency or planned entry into unknown concentrations or IDLH conditions: (Assigned Protection Factor = 10,000) Any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode/(Assigned Protection Factor = 10,000) Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained positive-pressure breathing apparatus.
Respirator Recommendations: Escape: (Assigned Protection Factor = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted organic vapor canister having a high-efficiency particulate filter/Any appropriate escape-type, self-contained breathing apparatus.
?Formic acid (CAS NO.64-18-6) is a flammable colorless fuming liquid with a strong irritating smell, it is soluble in water, ethanol and ether, slightly soluble in benzene. Burning will produce nitrogen oxides emitted toxic fumes. Besides should be stored and transported in low-temperature, drying environment. Separately with bases, oxidizing agents, H hair pore-forming agent, cyanide, sand, water mist, carbon dioxide would be used if emergency.
Octanol/Water Partition Coefficient:
log Kow = -0.54
Reported in EPA TSCA Inventory.
Disposal Methods:
Generators of waste (equal to or greater than 100 kg/mo) containing this contaminant, EPA hazardous waste number U123, must conform with USEPA regulations in storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste.
A good candidate for liquid injection incineration at a temperature range of 650 to 1,600 deg C and a residence time of 0.1 to 2 seconds. A good candidate for rotary kiln incineration at a temperature range of 820 to 1,600 deg C and residence times of seconds for liquids and gases, and hours for solids. A good candidate for fluidized bed incineration at a temperature range of 450 to 980 deg C and residence times of seconds for liquids and gases, and longer for solids.
The following wastewater treatment technologies have been investigated for formic acid: biological treatment.
Incineration: Burn scrap material in an approved incinerator with afterburner. Flammable solvent may be added to improve burning characteristics.
Use and Manufacturing
Use and Manufacturing:
Methods of Manufacturing

(a) By treatment of sodium formate & sodium acid formate with sulfuric acid at low temperatures & distilling in vacuo, (b) by acid hydrolysis of methyl formate, (c) as a by-product in manufacturing of acetaldehyde & formaldehyde.
In the 1970s, the hydrolysis of methyl formate to methanol and formic acid was developed commercially ... This process involves carbonylation of methanol and subsequent hydrolysis of the methyl formate produced. The methanol resulting from this process is returned to the first stage.
Formic acid is a byproduct in the production of acetic acid by liquid-phase oxidation of butane or naphtha. .. The preferred process in the establishment of new acetic acid plants has been the carbonylation of methanol ... .
U.S. Exports

(1984) 2.76X10+9 G
(1987) 196,921 LB
U.S. Imports

(1972) 8.59X10+7 GRAMS
(1975) 2.28X10+6 GRAMS
(1984) 1.26X10+10 G
(1986) 13,096,852 LB
U.S. Production

This chemical is listed as a High Production Volume (HPV) (65FR81686; Chemicals listed as HPV were produced in or imported into the U.S. in >1 million pounds in 1990. The HPV list is based on the 1990 Inventory Update Rule. (IUR) (40 CFR part 710 subpart B; 51FR21438;
(1972) 2.13X10+10 GRAMS
(1974) 2.84X10+10 GRAMS
(1983) 1.86X10+10 g (est)
The U.S. market for formic acid is relatively small (ca 30,000 ton/yr) by world standards.
(1986) >50 million - 100 million pounds
(1990) >10 million - 50 million pounds
(1994) >50 million - 100 million pounds
(1998) >50 million - 100 million pounds
(2002) >50 million - 100 million pounds
Consumption Patterns

Sampling Procedures:
... Air: collection with caustic in an impinger. ...
A procedure for determining formic acid in fish & other marine products using column chromatography is described. ... /Extracted by sulfuric acid and phosphotungstic acid/
Biomedical Effects and Toxicity
Therapeutic Uses:
Medication (vet): appears to prevent candida growth in partridges exposed to candida after receiving treated feed (20 mL of 6% solution/100 g feed for 1 week and then 2% soln). Similarly, a 15% solution can be used to control an outbreak of candida albicans.
Counterirritant; astringent.
Biomedical Effects and Toxicity:
Formic acid is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, via the lungs and the intact skin. The absorbed substance is degraded to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water and is partially excreted unchanged in the urine.
Some formic acid may be excreted unchanged, the amt depending on the species, dose, and route of admin.
During hemodialysis in a methanol poisoned patient, formate elimination followed first order kinetics with a plasma half-life of 165 min. The mean dialyzer (1.6 at 59 mL) clearance of formate was 148 mL/min at a blood flow of 215 mL/min. Distribution volume was 0.5 L/kg. Formate is more effectively removed by hemodialysis than methanol. /Formate/ [Jacobsen D et al; Acta Med Scand 214 (5): 409-12 (1983)] PubMed Abstract
Male New Zealand rabbits given 300 mg/kg 14C-formate excreted approximately 40% of the dose in the urine within 40 hr, about 70% of which was identified as formate and the rest as bicarbonate. After repeated intravenous dosing with 100 mg/kg of buffered formic acid daily for 4 days, adult male rabbits were injected on the fifth day with 14C-formic acid and were euthanized 1, 2, or 20 hr after the last injection. The highest formic acid concentrations were found 1 hr after the fifth dose. Total formic acid and concentrations were always higher than those measured radiometrically.
The urine specimens of 12 male farmers who were exposed to formic acid in a concentration of 0.0073+/-0.0022 mg/L were examined. Immediately after exposure, the excretion of formic acid was not increased as compared with the control group. After 15 and 30 hours, however, there were substantial and significantly increased concentrations of formic acid in the urine of the persons exposed. Excretion showed a linear dependence on the exposure concentration. The pH in the urine was unchanged, but the ammonium and calcium excretion was significantly increased 30 hours after exposure.
The objective is to describe the kinetics of formate, the main toxic metabolite of methanol, in a series of consecutive patients treated in the same intensive care unit for severe methanol poisoning. The charts of the patients admitted between 1987 and 2001 were reviewed. Inclusion criteria were: a history of deliberate methanol ingestion, with a blood methanol concentration greater than 20 mg/dL (6.2 mmol/L) or a high anion gap metabolic acidosis. Indications for hemodialysis were: blood methanol concentration >50 mg/dL (15.8 mmol/L), metabolic acidosis (bicarbonate PubMed Abstract
Environmental Fate and Exposure Potential
Environmental Fate/Exposure Summary:
TERRESTRIAL FATE: Based on a classification scheme(1), an estimated Koc value of 12(SRC), determined from a log Kow of -0.54(2) and a regression-derived equation(3), indicates that formic acid is expected to have very high mobility in soil(SRC). Volatilization of formic acid from moist soil surfaces is expected to be an important fate process(SRC) given a Henry's Law constant of 1.67X10-7 atm-cu m/mole(4). Formic acid is expected to volatilize from dry soil surfaces(SRC) based upon a vapor pressure of 42.6 mm Hg(5). Theoretical BOD values ranging from 4.3% to 77.6% after 5 days using sewage and activated sludge inocula(6-11) indicate that biodegradation may be an important environmental fate process in soil(SRC).
AQUATIC FATE: Based on a classification scheme(1), an estimated Koc value of 12(SRC), determined from a log Kow of -0.54(2) and a regression-derived equation(3), indicates that formic acid is not expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment(SRC). Volatilization from water surfaces is expected(3) based upon a Henry's Law constant of 1.67X10-7 atm-cu m/mole(4). Using this Henry's Law constant and an estimation method(3), volatilization half-lives for a model river and model lake are 150 and 1100 days, respectively(SRC). The pKa of formic acid is 3.8(5), indicating that this compound will primarily exist in anion form in the environment and anions generally do not adsorb more strongly to organic carbon and clay than their neutral counterparts(6). According to a classification scheme(7), an estimated BCF of 3.2(SRC), from its log Kow -0.54(2) and a regression-derived equation(8), suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low(SRC). Theoretical BOD values ranging from 4.3% to 77.6% after 5 days using sewage, activated sludge, fresh water, and synthetic sea water inocula(9-15) indicate that biodegradation may be an important environmental fate process in water(SRC).
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: According to a model of gas/particle partitioning of semivolatile organic compounds in the atmosphere(1), formic acid, which has a vapor pressure of 42.6 mm Hg at 25 deg C(2), is expected to exist solely as a vapor in the ambient atmosphere. Vapor-phase formic acid is degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals(SRC); the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be 36 days(SRC), calculated from its rate constant of 4.5X10-13 cu cm/molecule-sec at 25 deg C(3). Formic acid does not absorb at wavelengths >290 nm(4) and therefore is not expected to be susceptible to direct photolysis by sunlight(SRC).
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