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Public Health Statement for 1,1-Dichloroethane


June 2013

CAS#: 75-34-3

Public Health Statement PDF PDF Version, 281 KB

This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for 1,1-dichloroethane. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-800-232-4636.


We define a public health statement and show how it can help you learn about 1,1-dichloroethane.


A public health statement summarizes information about a hazardous substance. The information is taken from a toxicological profile developed by ATSDR's Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences (DTHHS). A toxicological profile is a thorough review of a hazardous substance.

This toxicological profile examines 1,1-dichloroethane. This public health statement summarizes the DTHHS's findings on 1,1 diochloroethane, describes the effects of exposure to it, and describes what you can do to limit that exposure.

1,1-Dichloroethane at hazardous waste sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the most serious hazardous waste sites in the nation. U.S. EPA then includes these sites the National Priorities List (NPL) and targets them for federal clean-up activities. U.S. EPA has found 1,1-dichloroethane in at least 673 of the 1,699 current or former NPL sites.

The total number of NPL sites evaluated for 1,1-dichloroethane is not known. However, the possibility remains that as more sites are evaluated, the number of sites at which 1,1-dichloroethane is found may increase. This information is important; these future sites may be sources of exposure, and exposure to 1,1 dichloroethane may be harmful.

Why a 1,1 dichloroethane release can be harmful

When a contaminant is released from a large area such as an industrial plant or from a container such as a drum or bottle, it enters the environment. However, such a release doesn't always lead to exposure. You can only be exposed to a contaminant when you come in contact with it. That contact--and therefore that exposure--can occur when you breathe, eat, or drink the contaminant, or when it touches your skin.

Even if you're exposed to 1,1-dichloroethane, you might not be harmed. Whether you are harmed will depend on such factors as the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you happen to contact it. Harm might also depend on whether you've been exposed to any other chemicals, as well as your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.

A Closer Look at 1,1-Dichloroethane


This section describes 1,1-dichloroethane in detail and how you can be exposed to it.

What is 1,1 dichloroethane?

1,1-Dichloroethane is a colorless oily liquid with a chloroform-like odor.

How is 1,1 dichloroethane used?

1,1-Dichloroethane is a chemical used mostly as an intermediate in the manufacture of 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and to a lesser extent, vinyl chloride and high vacuum rubber.

Where is 1,1-di¬chloroethane found?

1,1-Dichloroethane can be released into the air, water, and soil at places where it is produced or used as a solvent.

Possible Sources Outcome
Air: Levels of 1,1-dichloroethane in air samples have been measured at concentrations ranging from parts per trillion to parts per million, depending upon the location. In the air, 1,1-dichloroethane is slow to break down and has the potential for long-range transport.
Water: 1,1-Dichloroethane is infrequently detected in drinking water. Analyses of 13,347 California groundwater sources of drinking water found 1,1 in 68 samples, ranging from 0.51 to 30 parts per billion (ppb). 1,1-Dichloroethane is not expected to rapidly break down in water. It can evaporate from the water into the air.
Soil: Very little information was found on the ambient concentrations of 1,1-dichloroethane in soil, or on the current disposal of waste products containing the compound in landfills. 1,1-Dichloroethane released to land surfaces in spills would rapidly volatilize to the atmosphere, but 1,1-dichloroethane remaining on soil surfaces would be available for transport into groundwater, since the compound does not bind to soil particulates unless the organic content of the soil is high.

Other Media: Little information was found on the levels of 1,1-dichloroethane in other media.

In a survey of 234 table ready foods evaluated for the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 1,1-dichloroethane was not found in any of the samples.  It was detected in three peanut butter samples at levels of 1.1, 1.9, and 3.7 micro-grams per kilogram (µg/kg); however, the compound was not found in several other foods that were analyzed.

How 1,1-Dichloroethane Can Affect Your Health


This section looks at how 1,1-dichloroethane enters your body and potential 1,1-dichloroethane health effects found in human and animal studies.

How 1,1-dichloro-ethane

1,1-Dichloroethane can enter your body from the air, water or consumer products.

Possible Sources Possible Exposure Pathway
Air If you breathe air containing 1,1 dichloroethane, it will enter your body through your lungs.
Water 1,1-Dichloroethane in your drinking water will enter your body through the digestive tract.

How 1,1-dichloro-ethane leaves your body

1,1-Dichloroethane leaves your body in the breath or is broken down into other chemicals and these chemicals leave your body in the breath or in the urine.

Introduction to 1,1 dichloroethane health effects

The health effects of 1,1-dichloroethane depends on how much 1,1-dichloroethane you are exposed to and the length of that exposure. Environmental monitoring data are limited. However, they do suggest that any 1,1-dichloroethane levels the public might encounter through contact, through air, water, or soil are generally much lower than animal-study levels.

Effects in humans

No information is available in humans on the health effects associated with exposure to 1,1-dichloroethane.

Long-term exposure effects Kidney effects have been observed in cats exposed to 1,1-dichloroethane in air for long periods. However, kidney effects have not been observed in other animal species following long-term inhalation or oral exposure.
1,1-Dichloroethane and cancer A study in rats and mice found suggestive evidence that 1,1-dichloroethane may cause cancer. However, the study had several flaws and the results are not conclusive. Another long-term study in mice drinking water containing 1,1 dichloroethane did not find cancer.
Some cancer findings by government and other agencies
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have not evaluated the carcinogenic potential of 1,1-dichloroethane.
  • The U.S. EPA has determined that 1,1-dichloroethane is a possible human carcinogen.
See Chapters 2 and 3 for more information on 1,1-dichloroethane health effects.

Children and 1,1-Dichloroethane


This section discusses potential health effects of 1,1-dichloroethane exposure in humans from when they're first conceived to 18 years of age, and how you might protect against such effects.

Exposure effects in children

No data describe the effects of exposure to 1,1-dichloroethane on children or young animals. Although we think that children would likely show the same health effects as adults, we don't know whether children are more susceptible than are adults to 1,1-dichloroethane effects.

What about birth defects?

We don't know whether 1,1-dichloroethane can harm an unborn child. Minor skeletal problems were observed in the fetuses of rats breathing 1,1-dichloroethane; decreases in body weight were also observed in the mothers.

Medical Tests to Determine DNT Exposure


We identify medical tests that can detect whether 1,1-dichloroethane is in your body, and we recommend safe toxic-substance practices.

1,1-Dichloroethane can be measured in blood and urine

1,1-Dichloroethane and its breakdown products (metabolites) can be measured in blood and urine. However, the detection of 1,1-dichoroethane or its metabolites cannot predict the kind of health effects that might develop from that exposure. Because 1,1-dichloroethane and its metabolites leave the body fairly rapidly, the tests need to be conducted within days after exposure.

For more information on the different substances formed by 1,1-dichloroethane breakdown and on tests to detect these substances in the body, see Chapters 3 and 7.

Federal Government Recommendations to Protect Human Health


One way the federal government promotes public health is by regulating toxic substances or recommending ways to handle or to avoid toxic substances.

The federal government regulates toxic substances

Regulations are enforceable by law. The U.S. EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are some federal agencies that have adopted toxic substances regulations.

The federal government recommends safe toxic substance practices

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have made recommendations about toxic substances. Unlike enforceable regulations, these recommendations are advisory only.

Toxic substance regulations

Regulations and recommendations can be expressed as “not-to-exceed” levels; that is, levels of a toxic substance in air, water, soil, or food that do not exceed a critical value usually based on levels that affect animals; levels are then adjusted to help protect humans. Sometimes these not-to-exceed levels differ among federal organizations. Different organizations use different exposure times (an 8-hour workday or a 24-hour day), different animal studies, or emphasize some factors over others, depending on their mission.

Check for regulation updates

Recommendations and regulations are also updated periodically as more information becomes available. For the most current information, check with the federal agency or organization that issued the regulation or recommendation.


Some regulations and recommendations for 1,1-dichloroethane include:

Federal Organization Regulation or Recommendation
U.S. EPA The U.S. EPA has included 1,1 dichloroethane as a priority contaminant in the drinking water program.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA set a legal limit of 100 ppm 1,1 dichloroethane in air averaged over an 8-hour work day.

NIOSH NIOSH recommends a limit of 100 ppm 1,1-dichloroethane in air averaged over a 10 hour work day.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2013. Toxicological profile for 1,1-dichloroethane. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your community or state health or environmental quality department or:

For more information, contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences
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Atlanta, GA 30329-4027
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO · 888-232-6348 (TTY)
Email: Contact CDC-INFO

ATSDR can also tell you the location of occupational and environmental health clinics. These clinics specialize in recognizing, evaluating, and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.

Information line and technical assistance:
Phone: 888-422-8737

To order toxicological profiles, contact:
National Technical Information Service
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, VA 22161
Phone: 800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000

Some PDF files may be electronic conversions from paper copy or other electronic ASCII text files. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors. Users are referred to the original paper copy of the toxicological profile for the official text, figures, and tables. Original paper copies can be obtained via the directions on the toxicological profile home page, which also contains other important information about the profiles.

The information contained here was correct at the time of publication. Please check with the appropriate agency for any changes to the regulations or guidelines cited.

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