Trichloroethane (TCE)

Trikloretan, Trikloretan (C2H3Cl3) (TCEA) (Metylkloroform)



CAS no


Chemical formula


1,1,1-trichloroethane is a chlorinated organic solvent that belongs to the group volatile organic compounds (VOC). It is a sweetish, colourless and very volatile liquid.1


1,1,1-trichloroethane has in the past had a broad use within industry as a solvent, lubricant, degreasing agent and as a component in paints, lacquers and adhesives. The use of 1,1,1-trichlorothane is nowadays prohibited with a few exceptions, such as for laboratory work.2 3

Sources and transportation pathways

1,1,1-trichloroethane does not occur naturally in the environment. Since it is prohibited for use, the most important emission source is considered to be waste streams, such as emissions from landfills or contaminated soil. It may travel from soil to groundwater due to its mobility in soil. Air is also an important transportation pathway.4

Effects on environment and health

As a VOC, 1,1,1-trichloroethane can be involved in the formation of ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone may damage vegetation and during episodes of elevated VOC levels, it may cause irritation of the respiratory tract in humans. 1,1,1-trichloroethane is classified as a substance to be phased out and it contributes to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. The substance is also a greenhouse gas that contributes to the increased greenhouse gas effect.5 6 The increased greenhouse gas effect results in an increase of the average temperature on earth, which for example leads to climate change and rising of the sea level.7 8

1,1,1-trihloroethane has low degradability and is toxic to aquatic systems. 1,1,1-trichloroethane is harmful to humans by inhalation. During fire/heating, poisonous and corrosive gases/fumes are formed.9 10

International agreements and regulations

1,1,1-trichloroethane is regulated by the UN Montreal Protocol. The UN Protocol on PRTRs and the EU E-PRTR regulation regulate how data on 1,1,1-trichloroethane emissions is made available.

As a VOC, 1,1,1-trichloroethane is indirectly regulated by the UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as by the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive (2001/81/EC) and the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU).