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.

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



Montreal Protocol Meeting - ECSA & HSIA side event

November 2017

DCM & the ozone layer
24 November 2017 – 13hrs – Montréal

During this side event, we will provide you with scientific facts and figures on the worldwide production, emissions of the VSLS Dichloromethane (DCM) and its negligible contribution to ozone depletion.
We will consider the following criteria: global production by industry and emissions, global natural production, behavior and effect on the atmosphere, regulatory overview for DCM. The full paper is available here. A one-pager summary is also available.
More information

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). 


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 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.