Fact sheet: Pentachloroethane

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

202.3 g/mol


Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAH)

Properties (at room temperature where applicable)

Compound properties list
Melting/boiling point -29 °C / 160 °CLiquid
Relative density1.68 g/cm3Sinks in water
Vapour pressure4 mm HgModerately volatile
Vapour density7Denser than air
Solubility in water700 mg/LLow solubility
Henry's law constant2 x 10-3 atm·m3/molRapid volatilization when dissolved
log Koc (Depending on soil or sediment characteristics)2.3 - 3.7*Strong adsorption to organic matter

Environmental behaviour

At 20 0C, pentachloroethane is a liquid denser than water and moderately volatile. Characterized by low solubility, it will volatilize rapidly once dissolved and adsorbs strongly to organic matter. During a spill, this compound will evaporate in part but most will enter into the soil or migrate into a waterway. Once it encounters water (surface or subsurface), pentachloroethane will dissolve or sink until it reaches an impermeable surface. The liquid pentachloroethane that accumulates in a saturated zone will slowly dissolve before partially volatilizing. The adsorbed pentachloroethane in the vadose and saturated zones will take some time disappear, liberating contamination primarily in the gaseous but also in the dissolved state. The resulting plumes (gaseous or dissolved) will be relatively moderate in size.

Health and safety

Pentachloroethane should be handled with care as it is toxic.

Principal resources

Pentachloroethane has limited uses. It can be used as a solvent for chemicals, resins and gums, as a degreaser to clean metal parts, as a dry cleaning agent, as a timber drying agent and as a fumigant.


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