Trichloroethylene (TRI)

Trichloroethylene (TRI) is a partially chlorinated C2-hydrocarbon with the formula C2Cl3H. TRI is used:

  1. as feedstock material to produce fluorinated hydrocarbons (for instance for use in refrigeration and airconditioning systems) and fluorinated polymers and
  2. as an industrial solvent in various applications, among which the cleaning of storage tanks for liquid oxygen and hydrogen.

© © Industrial metal degreasing is one of the TRI applications
Whereas in the past the use as a solvent was predominant, it's today the contrary: the majority of produced TRI (ca. 80%) goes into the production of other chemicals.
TRI is a clear non-flammable liquid with an 87°C boiling point, has good chemical stability, is non-miscible with water and has a low evaporation energy (about 9 times lower than water). This makes TRI well-suited for vapour phase decreasing and equipment internal recycling through distillation with a constant re-use in closed loop systems at high quality levels.
The use of closed systems is being strongly recommended by ECSA and will become a precondition for sales into surface cleaning uses under the ECSA TRI Charter .
Consult the ECSA TRI Charter.

REACH: TRI has been added to ANNEX XIV of REACH on the 21st of April 2013 with the following dates:

  • Application Date: October 21, 2014 (date by which applications for authorization must be submitted to allow continued uses after the sunset date),
  • Sunset Date: April 21, 2016)

TRI can only be used after the sunset date  when a downstream user or his supplier holds and authorization for a particular use or the use falls under certain exemptions such as intermediate use or use in scientific research and development below 1mt/year (which includes the use in quality control). Please contact your supplier if TRI is mandatory for your operation and you want to continue to use it.
Please refer to the webpage of the European Chemical Agency ECHA for further information on authorisation.

For more information of Methylene Chloride please refer to the respective Health Profile and Product Safety Summary Document (Publication



IOELVs for DCM, CTC and PER published

February 2017

Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) for DCM, CTC and PER have been published by the EU Commission (cf. DIRECTIVE (EU) 2017/164 of 31.1.2017), which are in line with the REACH DNEL(inhalation) for workers. 
These IOELVs have to be considered by member states for setting national exposure limits (OELs), which they have to accomplish by 21. August 2018. Only national OELs are legally binding for occupational safety, whereas the IOELVs have to be considered by users in case no OELs is set, yet.  The relevant OELs are provided with the SDS of the solvents suppliers (cf. chapter 8.1). 


IARC monograph on DCM

January 2017

DCM has been re-classified by IARC (IARC website) from Group 2B (Possibly carcinogenic to humans) to the next higher Group 2A (Probably carcinogenic to humans). This reclassification from 2014 has been published recently (Dichloromethane).In the opinion of ECSA the reclassification is not scientifically justified. IARC Monograph classifications are also questioned by other associations such as the American Chemical Council (ACC). However the IARC classification is of no regulatory relevance in EU as European legislation is triggered by classification according to the CLP (GHS) regulation (EC 1272/2008).  


New Study on DCM

October 2016

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for methylene chloride (DCM). A publication is expected soon in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The outcome of the study shows that below a threshold there is no risk on cancer formation related to DCM.


Use of Perchloroethylene is safe in Germany

October 2016

The German federal authorities published a comprehensive guidance on the safe use of PER in dry-cleaning based on German regulations (2. BImSchV in force since 1990). ECSA supported the English translation of this guidance, which is now available on the website of the LAVG, the federal authority in charge.

The exposure study, as referenced in the guideline, proved that the use of PER is safe, if PER is applied according to regulations such as the 2. BImSchV and exposure is very low, well below the current German OEL.