Trichloroethylene: Its Uses and Medical Guidelines for Safe Handling

Trichloroethylene is a synthetic chemical with formula C2HCl3, and is also spelled as trichlorethylene. Available with a variety of names, such as Trethylene, Trilene, and Ethylene trichloride, it is a light-sensitive, volatile, and colorless liquid. It is miscible (can dissolve completely) with many non-polar organic solvents but nearly insoluble in water. It is a nonflammable chemical with a somewhat sweet odor like that of chloroform and a sweet burning taste. 

Applications of Trichloroethylene  

Trichloroethylene is mainly used as a degreaser for metal parts. However, it is also used as an ingredient in products, like:

  • Adhesives
  • Paint removers
  • Typewriter correction fluids
  • Spots removers
  • Lubricants
  • Varnishes
  • Pesticides
  • Hydrofluorocarbon
  • Flame retardant chemicals 

It is also used to make other chemicals, especially refrigerants. Besides, it has many other applications, such as:

  • Textile processing agent
  • Protective coating on artwork
  • Extraction solvent for greases, oils, waxes, and tars

Where to buy Trichloroethylene?

Businesses that require trichloroethylene either for direct use or as an ingredient can easily contact Online Liquid Trichloroethylene Dealers for bulk orders. 

Since Trichloroethylene is a toxic chemical and not considered safe, one should also know its potential exposure risks for safe handling and usage. 

Medical Guidelines for Trichloroethylene

  • Persons who are exposed to vapors of trichloroethylene don’t pose significant risks of secondary contamination. However, persons whose clothing or skin is contaminated with this chemical can cause secondary contamination either by direct contact or through off-gassing vapor. 
  • As mentioned above, Trichloroethylene is a colorless liquid at room temperature. However, it is highly flammable at high temperatures. At temperatures above 600 degrees F, it forms hydrogen chloride and phosgene, which are serious pulmonary irritants.
  • When this colorless liquid comes in contact with alkali or thermally decomposes, it may form dichloroacetylene, which is an explosive and neurotoxic compound. The odor usually provides inadequate warning of hazardous concentration. 
  • It is readily absorbed once ingested or inhaled and to a lesser extent, through the skin. It can pass through the placenta and has also been detected in breast milk. Thus, extra care must be taken in places where there are female laborers. 
  • Industrial grade liquid trichloroethylene contains small amounts of stabilizers (0.1% by weight), such as epichlorohydrin, which may increase the irritant effects. 
  • It is heavier than air and may cause asphyxiation in poorly ventilated or enclosed spaces and low-lying areas.

Due to its possible side-effects and exposure risks, extreme care must be taken while handling and storing Liquid Tichloroethylene. Since it can also decompose photolytically, it must be stored in cans or dark glass bottles to reduce the risk of decomposition. One should always store it in areas that are cool, well ventilated, flame-proof, and shielded from direct sunlight, high-temperature surfaces, and sparks.