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I noticed that tests such as the FDA ones are measuring "chloroform soluble extractives". I understand that chloroform is toxic and its effect to human if exposed to it. But does that mean those "chloroform soluble extractives" are also as bad? i.e. if chemical-A is soluble in chloroform, does that mean chemical-A is toxic too? Otherwise, why are we measuring the "chloroform soluble extractives"?

For reference: http://www.stq-cert.com/en/news_show.php?article_id=206

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    $\begingroup$ There is no correlation between chloroform solubility and toxicity $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Waylander then what's the point of measuring "chloroform soluble extractives"? $\endgroup$
    – xcoder
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 7:49
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    $\begingroup$ Why should be solvent toxicity and solute toxicity related? Potassium cyanide is water soluble. As water is not toxic, does it mean the cyanide is not toxic either ? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Achem Chloroform is not a known carcinogen. The MSDS states " Possible cancer hazard based on tests with laboratory animals." Big difference. $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ Difference perspectives ...synthetic organic chemists are quite comfortable with hazardous chemicals whereas many analytical chemists are not. EPA has classified chloroform as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen. Some 30-40 years ago it was okay to have benzene in wash bottles in student organic labs and it was also okay to do qualitative analysis with mercury salts. Today it will be a nightmare in a teaching lab. $\endgroup$
    – ACR
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 16:22

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From the link you can see an example "Closure with sealing gaskets for food containers - U.S. FDA CFR 21 177.1210:Net chloroform soluble extractives."

For analytical testing of leacheates in samples, chloroform is not the only solvent- it is one of the solvents which is useful for representing the capability to "extract" fat-like molecules (long chain molecules), polymers, and a wide range of other molecules particularly plasticizers. In this particluar case, the purpose is to assess if the sealing gasket in food container is able leach potentially toxic molecules or not over a long term in food or not.

Suppose your food in that container has oils, fats and water (like gravy or tuna fish etc.). As a chemist, one would be concerned what type molecules can leach into food after a long time storage from the container. In that case, chloroform extraction test will suggest what kind of molecules might partition into the food fats from the container.

Chloroform extract does not necessarily represent toxic molecules but potentially harmful stuff. Secondly chloroform extraction is analytical chemist friendly- after extraction the analysis can be directly carried out in a gas or a liquid chromatograph for further analysis.

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