Fact Sheet: 1,2-Dichloroethylene

1,2-Dichloroethylene FACT SHEET

Brief Overview:
Contaminant: 1,2-Dichloroethylene
Category: Organic
MCL: 70 PPB; trans – 100 PPB
Source: Manufacturing, extraction of oils, refrigerant
Effect: Nervous system, liver and circulatory damage
Followup: Treat and retest quarterly
Treatment: Granular activated charcoal

1,2-Dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE) is an odorless organic liquid that has two slightly different forms, a “cis” form and a “trans” form. Both the cis and trans forms – usually as a mixture – are used as a solvent for waxes and resins; in the extraction of rubber; as a refrigerant; in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and artificial pearls; in the extraction of oils and fats from fish and meat; and in making other organics. Releases to the environment are expected to be limited to manufacturing plants in the Gulf Region of the United States. Since cis-and trans-1,2-DCE are not listed chemicals in the Toxics Release Inventory, data on releases during manufacture and handling are not available.

Trans-1,2-dichloroethylene may be released to the environment in air emissions and wastewater during its production and use as a solvent and extractant, in organic synthesis, and in the manufacture of perfumes, lacquers, and thermoplastics.
What happens to 1,2-DCE when it is released to the environment? If 1,2-dichloroethylenes are released on soil, it should evaporate and leach into the groundwater where it will break down very slowly. If released to water, they will mainly evaporate. Neither of the two forms of this contaminant are likely to accumulate in aquatic life.

Short-term: EPA has found cis- and trans-1,2-DCE to potentially cause the following health effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for relatively short periods of time: central nervous system depression.
Long-term: Both cis- and trans-1,2-DCE have the potential to cause liver, circulatory and nervous system damage from long-term exposure at levels above the MCL. The trans form is approximately twice as potent as the cis form in its ability to depress the central nervous system.

Treat and retest quarterly.

Granular activated charcoal in combination with Packed Tower Aeration.