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.

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 an 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 need 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 Trichloroethylene please refer to the respective Health Profile and Product Safety Summary Document (Publication



TRI Authorisations granted

September 2018

Trichloroethylene (TRI) can be used safely under controlled conditions. Five authorisations have been granted to BlueCube Germany (a subsidiary of Olin) to continue to produce TRI for specific uses, for example Industrial Parts Cleaning. Customers of this producer can use TRI for these applications under the conditions set by the EU Commission and the defined risk management measures.


UBA PMT criteria published

February 2018

The German Environment Agency (UBA, Umweltbundesamt) has published the assessment of "Persistence, Mobility and Toxicity (PMT)" with the desire to protect drinking water sources. Applying conservative criteria for PMT as defined by UBA, perchloroethylene (PER) and trichloroethylene (TRI) appear as number 2 and 3 on the report. UBA also aims to establish PMT as an equivalent concern to identify SVHC substance for authorisation under REACH. ECSA does not consider SVHC identification using PMT criteria as the appropriate tool to improve drinking water quality due to this being a pure hazard based approach and thus does not consider risk. TRI is already listed in Annex XIV (authorisation) and today PER is handled almost exclusively in closed systems with no intentional emission to water or soil. For further information see the ECSA position paper on PER here.


New Study on Dichloromethane

February 2018

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for Dichloromethane (DCM). The study results have been published end of 2018. The outcome of the study shows that below the threshold there is no risk of cancer formation related to DCM.

The full paper is available here.


DCM & the Ozone Layer

November 2017 

Dichloromethane (DCM) is a highly Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) with a short atmospheric lifetime of only 0.4 years, hence defined as a Very Short Lived Substance (VSLS), but a negligible Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). Recent publications (e.g. Hossaini et al.) discussed the effect of DCM on the stratospheric ozone, which postulated a high future growth rate of global DCM production and emissions, which led to discussions to include DCM into the Montreal Protocol on the protection of the ozone layer. ECSA and HSIA have provided factual information on global production and emissions by industry, global natural production, behaviour and effect on the stratospheric ozone, and other regulatory developments at a UNEP meeting on the Montreal Protocol in Nov 2017 (available here), based on a scientific assessment of Archie McCulloch (full paper available here; a one-pager summary is also available here).