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1,1,1-Trichloroethane is an industrial solvent widely used to degrease machines, as a dye in the textile industry, and as an additive in aerosols (#EPA). It was set to be phased out with production ceasing in 2002 because it thins the ozone layer, but it is still used under certain essential applications (#Scorecard).


Just the facts

Physical Information


Synonyms/Trade Names: methylchloroform, methyltrichloromethane, trichloromethylmethane, ??trichloromethane, Chloroethene, Methylchloroform, Aerothene TT, Algylen, Alpha-T, Chlorten, Gemalgene, Genklene, Dowclene, Solvent 111, Trichloran, Inhibisol

Chemical Formula: CH 3 CCl 3

Use: solvent

Source: synthetic chemistry

Recommended daily intake: none

Absorption: dermal, inhalation

Toxicity/symptoms: inhalation causes symptoms similiar to being "drunk" and dermal exposure causes skin irritation

Chemical Structure


Chemical Description

1,1,1-Trichloroethane is a synthetic colorless liquid chemical at room temperature that is soluble in most organic Solvents - Chemical Profiles and External Links (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile).


Production of 1,1,1-trichloroethane has been drastically reduced in the last quarter century. Following the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol, production of 1,1,1-trichloroethane was to be phased out incrementally with the goal of ceasing production in 2002, however somewhere between 100-500 million pounds of 1,1,1-trichloroethane continued to be produced in 2002 (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile). Production has continued to be phased out with 125 million pounds produced in 2005 (NOTE: some places produce and store on-site and those numbers are not known exactly) (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile). It is only used currently for essential applications (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile)

The most common production method used to produce 1,1,1-trichloroethane a reaction between hydrochloric acid and Vinyl Chloride which yields 1,1-dichloroethane which is then followed by either thermal or photochemical chlorination (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile).


1,1,1-trichloroethane is a versatile high-volume industrial and household solvent used in many industries and found in many products (#ATSDR ToxFAQs). It is used industrially in numerous industries to degrease metal parts and dissolve other Solvents - Chemical Profiles and External Links as well as being used extensively in household products. A random survey of goods in 1992 found 1,1,1-trichloroethane in 216 of 1,159 products but that number should be expected to be smaller today as the usage has dropped (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile). Specifically, it has been used in the following products (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile):
* a [solvent|solvent] for adhesive products (including food adhesives)
* metal degreasing
* [pesticide|pesticides] production
* textile processing
* cutting fluids
* cutting oil formulations
* lubricants
* aerosols
* shoe polish
* spot cleaners
* printing inks

1,1,1-trichloroethane is also used industrially for cleaning and degreasing purposes on the following products (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile):
* electric components
* missile hardware
* paint masks
* photographic film
* printed circuit boards
* generators
* Switchgears
* Semiconductors
* food packing equipment
* printing messes

It is classified as a "hazardous material" by the EPA and guidelines and procedures for its disposal must be followed (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile).

Health Effects

Exposure to 1,1,1-trichloroethane is most likely to be from dermal or inhalation, and there is not enough information on the intestinal absorption of 1,1,1-trichloroethane. It causes dizzyness, light-headedness, nervous system depression, and skin irritation.

1,1,1-Trichloroethane is one of the many Solvents - Chemical Profiles and External Links that people intentionally inhale and is associated with "sudden sniffing death syndrome" with numerous deaths attributed to sniffing this solvent in the 1960s (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile). Deaths resulting from occupation inhalation exposure have also been recorded in the past. Breathing air contaminated with 1,1,1-trichloroethane will make one dizzy and lightheaded and possibly lose consciousness but the symptoms will abate quickly once one begins to breath fresh, uncontaminated air again (#ATSDR ToxFAQs). Breathing high levels of 1,1,1-trichloroethane will cause one to lose consciousness, have decreased blood pressure, and potentially cease breathing (#ATSDR ToxFAQs). It is also thought to have adverse effects on liver function.

It is a skin irritant (#ATSDR ToxFAQs).

It is not thought to be a carcinogen (#ATSDR ToxFAQs).

Environmental Effects

The majority of 1,1,1-trichloroethane that enters the environment does so into the air from human industrial activity where it stays for around six years. It is an o-zone depleting substance that was supposed to be phased out of production in 2002-2005 and is only currently used for essential applications (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile).

1,1,1-trichloroethane has been found at 823 of the 1,662 hazardous waste sites on the EPA's National Priorities List (#ATSDR Toxicological Profile).

It evaporates quickly from water and does not bioaccumulate (#ATSDR ToxFAQs).


Products containing 1,1,1-trichloroethane should be kept out of reach from small children and older children should be warned of the dangers associated with sniffing chemical products.



Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR "Toxicological Profile for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane". July 2006.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)."ToxFAQs? for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane". July 2006.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). " Consumer Factsheet on: 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE. Last updated on Tuesday, November 28th, 2006. Accessed 10-21-07.

Scorecard. " CHEMICAL PROFILES - Chemical Profile 1,1,1-Trichlorethane". Last updated 2005.

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