Fact Sheet: 1,1,1-Trichloroethane


Brief Overview:
Contaminant: 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
Category: Organic
MCL: 200 PPB
Source: Industrial solvent, degreaser
Effect: Liver, nervous system and circulatory system damage
Followup: Treat and retest quarterly
Treatment: Granular activated charcoal


1,1,1-Trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCE) is an organic liquid with a chloroform-like odor. It is largely used as a solvent removing grease from machined metal products, in textile processing and dyeing and in aerosols.

Demand for 1,1,1-trichloroethane was 705 million lbs. in 1989. 1,1,1-TCE is likely to enter the environment by evaporation or in wastewater from its production or use in metal cleaning. It can also enter the environment in leachates and volatile emissions from landfills.

From 1987 to 1993, according to EPA’s Toxic Chemical Release Inventory, releases to water and land totalled over 1 million lbs. These releases were primarily from metal fabrication industries. The largest releases occurred in California and Georgia. The largest direct releases to water occurred in Utah and Indiana.

What happens to 1,1,1-TCE when it is released to the environment? 1,1,1-TCE will evaporate rapidly from water and soil. It does not bind to soils nor is it broken down by microbial action, so it may leach to ground water. It has little tendency to accumulate in aquatic life.


Short-term: EPA has found 1,1,1-TCE to potentially cause the following health effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for relatively short periods of time: damage to the liver, nervous system and circulatory system.
Long-term: 1,1,1-TCE has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: liver, nervous system and circulatory system damage.

Treat and retest quarterly.

Granular activated charcoal in combination with Packed Tower Aeration.