Fact Sheet: 1,1,2-Trichloroethane

1,1,2-Trichloroethane  FACT SHEET

Brief Overview:
Contaminant: 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
Category: Organic
Source: Manufacture of other chemicals
Effect: Damage to liver and kidneys; cancer.
Followup: Treat and retest quarterly
Treatment: Granular activated charcoal

1,1,2-Trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCE) is an organic liquid with a chloroform-like odor. It is only used to make vinylidene chloride which is in turn used to make synthetic fibers and plastic wraps such as the saran wrap. An estimated 124 million lbs. of 1,1,2-TCE was produced in the US during 1974, based on the manufacture of vinylidene chloride. It evaporates during its use in the manufacture of vinylidene chloride and as a solvent. It is also released in wastewater from these uses, and in leachates and volatile emissions from landfills. The EPA estimates the gross annual discharge of 1,1,2-TCE waste in the US to be 4 million lbs.

From 1987 to 1993, according to EPA’s Toxic Chemical Release Inventory, 1,1,2-TCE releases to land and water totalled over 30,000 lbs., of which about 98 percent was to water. These releases were primarily from alkali and chlorine industries. The largest releases occurred in Louisiana and Texas.

What happens to 1,1,2-TCE when it is released to the environment? When released into water, 1,1,2-TCE should primarily evaporate. In soils, it should partially evaporate and partially leach into the groundwater. Its break down by microbes, if it occurs, is very slow. 1,1,2-TCE shows little tendency to accumulate in aquatic life.

Short-term: EPA has found 1,1,2-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: irritation of gastrointestinal tract; red or hemorrhaged lungs; pale liver.
Long-term: 1,1,2-TCE has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: damage to liver and kidneys; cancer.

Treat and retest quarterly

Granular activated charcoal in combination with Packed Tower Aeration.