Dimethylformamide Chemical formula
Synonyms: Dimetilformamida; Dimetyloformamid; DMF. NN-Dimethylformamide.
Cyrillic synonym: Диметилформамид.

💊 Chemical information

Chemical formula: C3H7NO = 73.09.
CAS — 68-12-2.


Dimethylformamide is a colourless liquid. Wt per mL about 0.95 g. B.p. about 153°.

💊 Adverse Effects and Precautions

Dimethylformamide is irritant. Gastrointestinal effects including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, CNS effects such as headache, dizziness, and weakness, and liver damage have been reported in workers occupationally exposed to the liquid or vapour. Some workers exposed to dimethylformamide have experienced a disulfiram-like effect after consumption of alcohol.
1. WHO. Dimethylformamide. Environmental Health Criteria 114. Geneva: WHO, 1991. Available at: http://www.inchem.org/ documents/ehc/ehc/ehc114.htm (accessed 30/06/04)

Effects on the liver.

Exposure to dimethylformamide was considered to be the most likely cause of elevated liver enzyme values in 36 of 58 (62%) workers in a fabric coating factory.1 Symptoms reported were generally mild and included anorexia, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, dizziness, and a disulfiramtype reaction to alcohol. Hepatotoxicity has occurred after acute poisoning with a veterinary drug formulated in dimethylformamide. There were only minor increases in liver enzyme values in a patient who was treated early with acetylcysteine.2
1. Redlich CA, et al. Liver disease associated with occupational exposure to the solvent dimethylformamide. Ann Intern Med 1988; 108: 680–6
2. Buylaert W, et al. Hepatotoxicity of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) in acute poisoning with the veterinary euthanasia drug T61. Hum Exp Toxicol 1996; 15: 607–11.


Suitable precautions should be taken to avoid skin contact with dimethylformamide as it can penetrate skin and produce systemic toxicity.

Malignant neoplasms.

There have been reports of testicular cancer in men occupationally exposed to dimethylformamide.1Such an association could not, however, be substantiated by epidemiological data2 on 3859 male employees exposed to dimethylformamide between 1950 and 1970 and followed up to 1984. It has been suggested that although dimethylformamide may not itself be carcinogenic, it may increase absorption through the skin of heavy metal carcinogens, possibly including chromates.3
1. Levin SM, et al. Testicular cancer in leather tanners exposed to dimethylformamide. Lancet 1987; ii: 1153
2. Chen JL, Kennedy GL. Dimethylformamide and testicular cancer. Lancet 1988; i: 55
3. Ducatman AM. Dimethylformamide, metal dyes, and testicular cancer. Lancet 1989; i: 911.

💊 Pharmacokinetics

Dimethylformamide is absorbed after inhalation and through intact skin. It is excreted mainly in the urine as metabolites.

💊 Uses

Dimethylformamide is used as an industrial solvent.
Published October 30, 2018.