Fact sheet: Chloroethane

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Discover a list of a contaminant's important chemical properties, how it will react in the environment, main sources of contamination related, and a brief overview of health and safety issues.

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General information

CAS number


Molecular formula


Formula weight

64.5 g/mol


Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAH)

Properties (at room temperature where applicable)

Compound properties list
Melting/boiling point -64 0C / 61 0CGas
Relative density0.89Liquid form floats on water
Vapour pressure1,100 mm HgExtremely volatile
Vapour density2.3Denser than air
Solubility in water5,700 mg/LModerately soluble
Henry's law constant1 x 10-2 atm·m3/molRapid volatilization when dissolved
log Koc (Depending on soil or sediment characteristics)Weak adsorption to organic matter

Environmental behaviour

At 20 0C, chloroethane is a gas that is easily liquefied under pressure and is both stored and transported by industry in its liquid form. When liquid, it floats on water and is extremely volatile. Moderately soluble, it rapidly volatilizes when dissolved and only binds weakly to organic matter. During a spill of liquefied chloroethane, the majority of the product will volatilize but can also enter into the soil or drain into a waterway. Once it encounters water (surface or subsurface), chloroethane will primarily volatilize or dissolve (followed by rapid volatilization). The adsorbed product resulting from a spill will disappear rapidly in its gaseous state. The resulting gaseous plume in the soil will be significant while any dissolved plume will be relatively small in size.

Health and safety

Chloroethane should be handled with care as it is flammable.

Principal resources

Chloroethane is a compound that is in the environment as a result of anthropogenic activity. Chloroethane is produced industrially, but its production has decreased drastically as leaded gasoline has been replaced by unleaded gasoline. In the past, the single largest use of chloroethane was in the production of tetraethyl lead. It is also used in the production of ethyl cellulose, dyes, medicinal drugs, and other commercial products such as refrigerants and solvent for oils, resins and waxes. It is also used to numb the skin before medical procedures such as ear piercing and skin biopsies and as a treatment in sports injuries.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 1998. Toxicological Profile for chloroethane. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Georgia, USA. (Viewed March 2010).

Montgomery, John H. 2007. Groundwater Chemicals, Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Florida, USA.

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