Absorption

Carbon tetrachloride is very lipid soluble and readily enters the body by inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption. Inhalation is the primary route of exposure, with pulmonary absorption in humans estimated to be 60% (ATSDR, 1992a). It is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and dermal absorption of the liquid or vapour can also occur but absorption by this route is slow.

Four hours after ingestion of approximately 250 ml of carbon tetrachloride whole blood concentrations were 31.5 mg/l and remained detectable for eight days (Mathieson et al., 1985).

Carbon tetrachloride was detected in alveolar air within ten minutes of immersion of the thumb in the solvent. The concentration continued to rise throughout a 30 minute exposure period and for the following 10-30 minute period. It then decreased exponentially. A mean peak breath concentration of 0.64 ppm after 30 minutes exposure was measured, and this dropped to 0.31 ppm two hours after cessation of exposure (Stewart and Dodd, 1964).

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