- 131.4 g/mol
- Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAH)
Compound properties list
|Melting/boiling point|| -86 0C / 87 0C||Liquid|
|Relative density||1.46||Sinks in water|
|Vapour pressure||70 mm Hg||Very volatile|
|Vapour density||4.5||Denser than air|
|Solubility in water||1,300 mg/L||Moderately soluble|
|Henry's law constant||1 x 10-2 atm·m3/mol||Rapid volatilization when dissolved|
|log Koc (Depending on soil or sediment characteristics)||1.7 - 1.22*||Moderate adsorption to organic matter|
At 20 0C, trichloroethene is a liquid denser than water and very volatile. Characterized
by moderate solubility, it will volatilize rapidly once dissolved and adsorbs moderately to organic
matter. During a spill, this compound will mostly evaporate but may also enter into the soil or
migrate into a waterway. Once it encounters water (surface or subsurface), trichloroethene will
dissolve or sink until it reaches an impermeable surface. Liquid trichloroethene that accumulates in
a saturated zone will gradually dissolve before partially volatilizing. The adsorbed trichloroethene
in the vadose and saturated zones will rapidly disappear, liberating contamination in either the
gaseous or dissolved state. The resulting plumes (gaseous or dissolved) will be relatively large in
Trichloroethene should be handled with care as it is toxic.
Trichloroethene is produced industrially through the reaction of 1,2-dichloroethane
with chlorine and/or hydrogen chloride and oxygen to form trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene. The
Canadian production of trichloroethene ceased in 1985. Trichloroethene enters the aquatic
environment through industrial discharges, landfill leaching, accidental spills, and improper
storage and disposal. Trichloroethene is also a known degradation product of tetrachloroethene.
The most important use of trichloroethene is degreasing of metal parts in automotive and metals
industries. Trichloroethene is an excellent extraction solvent for greases, oils, fats, waxes and
tars, and is used by the textile processing industry to scour cotton, wool and other fabrics. The
textile industry also uses trichloroethene as a solvent in waterless dying and finishing operations.
It is also present in dry cleaning facilities. As a general solvent or as a component of solvent
blends, trichloroethene is used with adhesives, lubricants, paints, varnishes and paint strippers.
Trichloroethene is also used as an intermediate in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC),
pharmaceuticals, polychlorinated aliphatics, flame retardant chemicals and insecticides.
Trichloroethene is used as a refrigerant for low-temperature heat transfer and is found in various
consumer products including writing correction fluids, paint removers, adhesives, spot removers and
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1997. Toxicological
Profile for Trichloroethylene. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health
Service, Georgia, USA. (Viewed December 2013).
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 1999. Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for
the Protection of Aquatic Life: Chlorinated Ethenes (1,1,2-trichloroethene (trichloroethylene).
In: Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment,
Manitoba, Canada. (Viewed March 2010).
Montgomery, John H. 2007. Groundwater Chemicals, Desk Reference, Fourth Edition, CRC
Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Florida, USA.