What is Trichloroethylene?

Course: WB1112
CE Original Date: November 8, 2007
CE Renewal Date: November 8, 2010
CE Expiration Date: November 8, 2012
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Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this section, you should be able to explain what TCE is.

Definition

TCE (Cl2C=CHCl) is a clear, colorless, nonflammable liquid possessing a sweet, fruity odor characteristic of chloroform. The odor threshold is approximately 100 parts per million (ppm) (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 1997).

Uses

Estimated use patterns suggest that 80% of TCE is used for vapor degreasing of fabricated metal parts in the automotive and metal industries.

Consumer products that contain TCE include:

  • adhesives
  • spot removers
  • cleaning fluids for rugs
  • paint removers/strippers
  • typewriter correction fluids
Other Uses

Before its ban for certain applications in 1977, TCE was also used as a general (mostly obstetric) anesthetic, grain fumigant, disinfectant, pet food additive, and extractant of spices in foods and caffeine in coffee (Candura and Faustman 1991.)

Synonyms

Trichloroethylene is also known as

  • acetylene trichloride
  • ethylene trichloride
  • TCE
  • Tri
  • trichloroethene

Trade names for trichloroethylene include:

  • Benzinol
  • Circosolve
  • Flock Fli,
  • Narcogen
  • Perm-A-Chlor
  • Tri-clene
  • Vestrol
Key Points

TCE is used mainly for vapor degreasing of fabricated metal parts in the automotive and metal industries.

Page last reviewed: December 10, 2013