Cathal Walsh
Environmental Blogger
Tuesday, 18th June 2019
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chemical formula for 1,2-dichloroethane

Table of Contents


Maximum amount allowed in water:

3.0 μg/litre

What is it?

This is a clear, chemically-manufactured liquid [C2H4Cl2]. It is characterised by its sweet smell, pleasant taste and its tendency to evaporate quickly at room temperature. It’s main use is in the production of vinyl chloride which is then used in the production of many plastic and vinyl products, including constructing materials like PVC pipes.

How does it get into water?

1,2-dichloroethane does not occur in nature and as a result is never traditionally present in water sources.  Contamination of Irish water with 1,2-dichloroethane is highly unlikely, it is present in some industrial effluent however so it may be possible that it could make its way into surface waters or seep from waste sites into groundwater.

Does it pose a risk to health?

It has been concluded that 1,2-dichloroethane is possibly carcinogenic to humans. It can result in eye damage, dermatitis and narcotic effects. Cases of poisoning after high doses have been recorded in other countries with death happening in some cases. Death in this case is attributed to respiratory and circulatory failure.

How do I check for it?

You can check for it by purchasing a water test from an accredited laboratory.

How do I remove it from my water?

You can greatly reduce the level of 1,2-dichloroethane in your water by a granular activated carbon filter in  combination with packed tower aeration (a treatment process whereby water is mixed with air to remove volatile organic chemicals and dissolved gases)

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