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CHEMINFO Record Number: 601
CCOHS Chemical Name: Calcium formate

Calcium diformate
Formic acid, calcium salt
Formate de calcium

CAS Registry Number: 544-17-2
RTECS Number(s): LQ5600000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 208-863-7
Chemical Family: Saturated aliphatic carboxylic acid salt / saturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acid salt / alkanoic acid salt / formate / calcium salt
Molecular Formula: C2-H2-Ca-O4
Structural Formula: (H-CO2-)2.Ca++


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless crystals or crystalline powder (2) with a slight formic acid odour

Odour Threshold:
Not available

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Calcium formate is one of the soluble salts of formic acid. It has many similarities (properties and hazards) to other formates. This record contains the available information specific for calcium formate, supplemented with general information on formate salts which is applicable to calcium formate. It is available commercially in very pure form (more than 99% purity), containing trace amounts of related salts.(1)

Uses and Occurrences:
Major use in power plant flue-gas scrubbing solutions; in chrome tanning of leather; as a preservative for silage; in drilling fluids and lubricants; as a fine-ore briquet binder; as a preservative in foods.(2,3)


Colourless crystals or crystalline powder with a slight formic acid odour. POTENTIAL COMBUSTIBLE DUST HAZARD. Powdered material may form explosive dust-air mixtures. May form flammable hydrogen gas under fire conditions. Essentially non-toxic.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

No human or animal studies have been reported. It is expected that calcium formate causes only minor, reversible effects on the lungs. High concentrations of dust or mist (from solutions) may cause coughing and mild temporary irritation.

Skin Contact:
There is no human or animal information available. Calcium formate solutions may cause skin irritation. Calcium formate is probably not absorbed through the skin to a significant extent.

Eye Contact:
There is no human information available. Based on unconfirmed animal information, calcium formate mists and solutions may cause moderate eye irritation. For dust, some tearing, blinking and mild, temporary pain may occur as the solid material is rinsed from the eye by tears.

There is not human information available. Based on animal information and human information for a related chemical, sodium formate, this material is expected to have low toxicity.(4,5) Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

SKIN: Prolonged or repeated contact with solutions can probably cause redness, drying and cracking of the skin (dermatitis).


No animal or human information is available.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has no listing for this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
No animal or human information is available.

Reproductive Toxicity:
No animal or human information is available.

No specific information is available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
No information available

Potential for Accumulation:
Calcium formate can enter the body by inhalation or ingestion. It does not accumulate. Calcium and formate ions are normally found in the body. About one third of ingested calcium ion is absorbed. Calcium ion is excreted mainly in the feces and the urine. The formate ion is rapidly and completely metabolized.


If symptoms are experienced, remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air and obtain medical advice.

Skin Contact:
No health effects expected. If irritation does occur, flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes or until the chemical is removed. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice.

Eye Contact:
Do not allow victim to rub eye(s). Let the eye(s) water naturally for a few minutes. Have victim look right and left, and then up and down. If the particle/dust does not dislodge, flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes or until particle/dust is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation persists, obtain medical attention. DO NOT attempt to manually remove anything stuck to the eye(s).

No health effects expected. If irritation or discomfort occur, obtain medical advice immediately.

First Aid Comments:
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a physician familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
Not applicable. Calcium formate does not form a vapour.

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
Not applicable

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
Not applicable

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
Not available

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Probably not sensitive. Stable material.

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
At elevated temperatures, it may decompose into calcium oxalate and hydrogen and then into calcium carbonate.

Flammable Properties:

Extinguishing Media:
Use extinguishing media suitable for surrounding fire.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or a protected location. Highly flammable hydrogen gas may be formed under fire conditions.
Avoid generating dust to minimize risk of explosion. Water can be used in the form of spray or fog to present dust formation, absorb heat, keep containers cool and protect fire-exposed material. If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray to disperse the vapours and to protect personnel attempting to stop a leak. Water spray may be used to flush spills away from ignition sources. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material.
As in any fire, wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), pressure-demand, (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full protective equipment (Bunker Gear).


NFPA - Comments:
NFPA has no listing for this chemical in Codes 49 or 325.


Molecular Weight: 130.12

Conversion Factor:
Not applicable

Physical State: Solid
Melting Point: Greater than 300 deg C (572 deg F) (decomposes) (3,9)
Boiling Point: Decomposes
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 2.015 (water = 1) (9,10)
Solubility in Water: Very soluble in cold (16.2g/100mL at 0 deg C) and hot water (18.4 g/100mL at 100 deg C) (9)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Insoluble in ethanol (9)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available
pH Value: Practically neutral; 6.0 - 7.5 (1M solution at 25 deg C) (1)
Vapour Density: Not applicable
Vapour Pressure: Not available. Probably zero.
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable
Evaporation Rate: Not applicable
Critical Temperature: Not available


Normally stable.

Hazardous Polymerization:
Does not occur.

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

STRONG ACIDS - can react vigorously and decompose calcium formate to produce formic acid fumes.

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
None known

Conditions to Avoid:
Static charge, sparks, heat and other ignition sources, generation of dust.

Corrosivity to Metals:
No information available


LD50 (oral, mouse): 1920 mg/kg (4)
LD50 (oral, rat): 2650 mg/kg (6, unconfirmed)

Eye Irritation:

Application of 100 mg produced moderate irritation in rabbits in a standard Draize test.(3, unconfirmed)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Fluka Chemika-BioChemika 1995/96. Fluka Chemie AG, 1995. p. 313- 314
(2) The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals. 11th edition. Merck & Co., Inc., 1989. p. 253
(3) HSDB record for calcium formate. Date of last update: 9501
(4) Malorny, G. Acute and chronic toxicity of formic acid and formates. Zeitschrift fur Ernaehrungswissenschaft, Vol. 9, no. 4 (1969). p. 332-339
(5) Gosselin, R.E., et al. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products. 5th edition. Williams and Wilkins, 1984. p. II-102
(6) RTECS record for formic acid, calcium salt. Date of last update: 9504
(7) Field, P. Explosibility assessment of industrial powders and dusts. Building Research Establishment, 1983
(8) Fire protection handbook. 17th edition. National Fire Protection Association, 1991. p. 2-332 to 2-333, 3-133 to 3-142
(9) CRC handbook of chemistry and physics. 64th edition. CRC Press Inc., 1983-1984. p. B-79
(10) Hawley's condensed chemical dictionary. 12th edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. p. 203
(11) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated, Total. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>
(12) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated, Respirable. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>
(13) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Metal and Metalloid Particulates in Workplace Atmospheres (Atomic Absorption). In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at:
(14) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). CALCIUM and compounds, as Ca. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 1995-10-25

Revision Indicators:
EU class 1996-06-01
US transport 1996-06-01
EU number 1996-06-01
Resistance of materials 1996-06-01
Respiratory guidelines 1996-06-01
Bibliography 2005-03-24
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-24
LFL/LEL 2006-10-04
UFL/UEL 2006-10-04

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