Formula: C2HCI3 | CAS: 79-01-6

Detecting trichloroethylene: Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is a colourless, volatile liquid that is produced in large volumes for commercial use.

Detecting trichloroethylene to limit exposure dangers

Trichloroethylene may be found in the air, water, and soil at places where it is produced or used. It breaks down slowly and remains in the environment for a long time. It readily passes through soil and can accumulate in groundwater.

People in the general population can be exposed to trichloroethylene by inhaling it in indoor and outdoor air, drinking contaminated water, or eating foods that have been washed or processed with contaminated water. Because this chemical was used extensively by the US military to degrease equipment, contaminated soil and groundwater can be found near many current and former military bases.

Trichloroethylene was once used as an anaesthetic for surgery. People who are overexposed to moderate amounts of trichloroethylene may experience headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness; large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause coma and even death. Some people who breathe high levels of trichloroethylene may develop damage to some of the nerves in the face. Other effects seen in people exposed to high levels of trichloroethylene include evidence of nervous system effects related to hearing, seeing, and balance, changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat, liver damage, and evidence of kidney damage. Some people who get concentrated solutions of trichloroethylene on their skin develop rashes.
– Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

Monitoring levels of trichloroethylene in the environment

Workers and employers should practice good occupational health behaviours, which may include wearing protective gear and properly using respirators, and reducing exposure time to TCE. Everyone should avoid drinking water known to
be contaminated with TCE. Children should be prevented from playing in areas where TCE has been found in the soil. Always follow instructions on product labels to minimise exposure to harmful chemicals.

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Everything you need to know about detecting trichloroethylene

Our Gas Factsheets which is available to download below provides you with key information on the exposure limits and the locations of where potentially harmful gases can occur. We also share information on gas detection monitoring techniques and equipment that can help you manage gas detection in the workplace, for worker and site safety.


Detecting Trichloroethylene

Formula: C2HCI3 | CAS: 79-01-6

Synonyms: trichloroethene, R1120, trechloroethene, ethinyl trichloride, tre-Clene, trelene, trechloren, Algylen, Trimar, Triline, trethylene, Westrosol, Chlorylen, Gemalgene, Germalgene, TCE, ethylene trichloride

Trichloroethylene is primarily used as a degreasing agent for manufactured metal parts.

Specification Value/Information
Formula C2HCl3
CAS no. 79-01-6
Gas Response Factor, 11.7 eV 0.5
Gas Response Factor, 10.6 eV 0.6
Gas Response Factor, 10.0 eV 0.8
ppm per mg/m⁻³, (20 °C, 1 bar) 0.183
Molecular Weight, g/mole 131.4
Melting point, °C '-73
Boiling point, °C 87
Flash point, °C 32
Specification Value/Information
Upper Explosive Limit, % 40
Lower Explosive Limit, % 12
Density,⁻³ 1.463
Ionisation Energy, eV 9.45
EH40 TWA, ppm 100
EH40 TWA, mg.m⁻³ 550
EH40 STEL, ppm 150
EH40 STEL, mg.m⁻³ 820
NIOSH IDLH, ppm 1000
OSHA TWA PEL, ppm 100

Resource Centre

Here you will find several important downloadable resources, to help you understand and manage any exposure to trichloroethylene, to help strengthen hazard management at work, for both worker and site safety.

Please click the link below to view our range of trichloroethylene resources:

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