Dimethyl mercury

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Structural formula
Structure of dimethylmercury
Surname Dimethyl mercury
other names

Dimethylhydrargyrum (Latin)

Molecular formula C 2 H 6 Hg
Brief description

colorless liquid with a sweet odor

External identifiers / databases
CAS number 593-74-8
EC number 209-805-3
ECHA InfoCard 100.008.916
PubChem 11645
Wikidata Q422087
Molar mass 230.65 g mol −1
Physical state



3.1 g cm −3

Melting point

−42 ° C

boiling point

92 ° C

Vapor pressure

66 h Pa (20 ° C)


practically insoluble in water

Refractive index

1.5452 (20 ° C)

safety instructions
GHS hazard labeling from  Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP) , expanded if necessary
06 - Toxic or very toxic 08 - Dangerous to health 09 - Dangerous for the environment


H and P phrases H: 330-310-300-373-410
P: 260-264-273-280-284-302 + 350

not fixed

Thermodynamic properties
ΔH f 0

59.8 kJ / mol

As far as possible and customary, SI units are used. Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions . Refractive index: Na-D line , 20 ° C

Dimethylmercury is an extremely toxic organometallic compound of mercury , which is considered a strong neurotoxin . The fumes smell faintly sweet.


Dimethylmercury is a volatile, colorless liquid with a sweetish odor, which is practically insoluble in water. It decomposes when heated, producing mercury vapors and highly flammable decomposition products.


Dimethylmercury was used as a reference substance in toxicological experiments. Other mercury compounds are now used for use in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as a reference for mercury.

safety instructions

Dimethylmercury can easily cross the blood-brain barrier . It probably forms a complex with cysteine . When symptoms of intoxication such as dizziness or headaches occur , it is often too late for effective therapy. Dimethylmercury is only slowly broken down in the body, so that it accumulates . The intraperitoneal LD 50 value for mice is 37.5 mg / kg body weight, but exposure to even small amounts (such as liquid spilled over the hand) can lead to severe poisoning and even death. There is no known effective treatment for the poisoning.

Neither rubber , PVC nor neoprene gloves can effectively prevent the absorption of dimethylmercury. This fact led to the death of the American chemist Karen Wetterhahn .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j Entry on dimethyl mercury in the GESTIS substance database of the IFA , accessed on February 22, 2017(JavaScript required) .
  2. David R. Lide (Ed.): CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics . 90th edition. (Internet version: 2010), CRC Press / Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, Physical Constants of Organic Compounds, pp. 3-130.
  3. Entry on dimethyl mercury in the Classification and Labeling Inventory of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), accessed on February 1, 2016. Manufacturers or distributors can expand the harmonized classification and labeling .
  4. David R. Lide (Ed.): CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics . 90th edition. (Internet version: 2010), CRC Press / Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, Standard Thermodynamic Properties of Chemical Substances, pp. 5-22.
  5. OSHA Safety Hazard Information Bulletin on Dimethylmercury . In: Safety and Health Information Bulletins (SHIBs), 1997-1998 . OSHA. February 15, 1991.

Web links