Fact sheet: 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane

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

167.8 g/mol


Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAH)

Properties (at room temperature where applicable)

Compound properties list
Melting/boiling point -36 °C / 146 °CLiquid
Relative density1.58 g/cm3Sinks in water
Vapour pressure6 mm HgModerately volatile
Vapour density5.8Denser than air
Solubility in water3,000 mg/LModerately soluble
Henry's law constant4 x 10-4 atm·m3/molModerate volatilization when dissolved
log Koc (Depending on soil or sediment characteristics)Moderate adsorption to organic matter

Environmental behaviour

At 20 0C, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane is a liquid denser than water and moderately volatile. Characterized by moderate solubility, it will volatilize moderately once dissolved and adsorbs moderately to organic matter. During a spill, this compound will partially evaporate but may primarily enter into the soil or migrate into a waterway. Once it encounters water (surface or subsurface), 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane will dissolve or sink until it reaches an impermeable surface. The liquid 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane that accumulates in a saturated zone will gradually dissolve before volatilizing. The adsorbed phase in the vadose and saturated zones will take a while to disappear, liberating contamination in either the gaseous or dissolved state. The resulting dissolved plume will be relatively large in size while the gaseous plume will be relatively limited in size.

Health and safety

1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane should be handled with care as it is toxic.

Principal resources

Commercial production of 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane, as an end-product, has ceased in both the United States and Canada (Canada in 1985). Any current production of 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane is not sold but used as an intermediate in the production of a variety of other common chemicals such as 1,1,1-and 1,1,2-trichloroethane. Therefore, trace amounts of 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane may be introduced into the environment.

In the past, the major use for 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane was in the production of trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene and 1,2-dichloroethene. It was also used as a solvent, in cleaning and degreasing metals, in paint removers, in varnishes and lacquers, in photographic films, for chlorinated rubber, and as an extractant for oils and fats. At one time it was used as an insecticide, fumigant and weed killer, though it is presently not registered for any of these purposes. With the availability of less toxic solvents and the development of new processes for manufacturing chlorinated ethenes, the manufacture of 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane has steadily declined over time.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2008. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Georgia, USA. (Viewed March 2010).

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 1999. Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life: Chlorinated Ethanes. 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.