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Basic Information about 1,1,2-Trichloroethane in Drinking Water

1,1,2-Trichloroethane at a Glance

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) = 0.005 milligrams per Liter (mg/L) or 5 parts per billion (ppb)

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) = 0.003 mg/L or 3 parts per billion

Health Effects
Some people who drink water containing 1,1,2-trichloroethane in excess of the MCL over many years could experience liver, kidney, or immune system problems.

Drinking Water Health Advisories provide more information on health effects

Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number
79-00-5

Sources of Contamination
Discharge from industrial chemical factories

List of all Regulated Contaminants (PDF) (6 pp, 396K, About PDF)

EPA regulates 1,1,2-trichloroethane in drinking water to protect public health. 1,1,2-Trichloroethane may cause health problems if present in public or private water supplies in amounts greater than the drinking water standard set by EPA.

What is 1,1,2-trichloroethane?
1,1,2-Trichloroethane, a volatile organic chemical is a liquid with a chloroform-like odor.

Uses for 1,1,2-trichloroethane.
1,1,2-Trichloroethane is used to make vinylidene chloride which is in turn used to make synthetic fibers and plastic wraps. It is also used in adhesives, production of Teflon tubing, in lacquer and coating formulations, and as a solvent for fats and oils.

If you are concerned about 1,1,2-trichloroethane in a private well, please visit:

What are 1,1,2-trichloroethane's health effects?
Some people who drink water containing 1,1,2-trichloroethane well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or immune systems.

This health effects language is not intended to catalog all possible health effects for 1,1,2-trichloroethane. Rather, it is intended to inform consumers of some of the possible health effects associated with 1,1,2-trichloroethane in drinking water when the rule was finalized.

What are EPA's drinking water regulations for 1,1,2-trichloroethane?
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime with an adequate margin of safety, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG). Contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substances or matter in water.

The MCLG for 1,1,2-trichloroethane is 0.003 mg/L or 3 ppb. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. EPA has set an enforceable regulation for 1,1,2-trichloroethane, called a maximum contaminant level (MCL), at 0.005 mg/L or 5 ppb. MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies.

The Phase V Rule, the regulation for 1,1,2-trichloroethane became effective in 1994. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review the national primary drinking water regulation for each contaminant and revise the regulation, if appropriate. EPA reviewed 1,1,2-trichloroethane as part of the Six Year Review and determined that the 0.003 mg/L or 3 ppb MCLG and 0.005 mg/L or 5 ppb MCL for 1,1,2-trichloroethane are still protective of human health.

States may set more stringent drinking water MCLGs and MCLs for 1,1,2-trichloroethane than EPA.

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How does 1,1,2-trichloroethane get into my drinking water?
1,1,2-Trichloroethane evaporates during its use in manufacturing other products and as a solvent. It is also released in wastewater from these uses, and in leachates and volatile emissions from landfills.

A federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities in certain industries, which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals. For more information on the uses and releases of chemicals in your state, contact the Community Right-to-Know Hotline: (800) 424-9346.

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How will I know if 1,1,2-trichloroethane is in my drinking water?
When routine monitoring indicates that 1,1,2-trichloroethane levels are above the MCL, your water supplier must take steps to reduce the amount of 1,1,2-trichloroethane so that it is below that level. Water suppliers must notify their customers as soon as practical, but no later than 30 days after the system learns of the violation. Additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.

If your water comes from a household well, check with your health department or local water systems that use ground water for information on contaminants of concern in your area.

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How will 1,1,2-trichloroethane be removed from my drinking water?
The following treatment method(s) have proven to be effective for removing 1,1,2-trichloroethane to below 0.005 mg/L or 5 ppb: Granular activated carbon in combination with packed tower aeration.

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How do I learn more about my drinking water?
EPA strongly encourages people to learn more about their drinking water, and to support local efforts to protect the supply of safe drinking water and upgrade the community water system. Your water bill or telephone book's government listings are a good starting point for local information.

Contact your water utility. EPA requires all community water systems to prepare and deliver an annual consumer confidence report (CCR) (sometimes called a water quality report) for their customers by July 1 of each year. If your water provider is not a community water system, or if you have a private water supply, request a copy from a nearby community water system.

The CCR summarizes information regarding sources used (i.e., rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or aquifers), any detected contaminants, compliance and educational information.

Some water suppliers have posted their annual reports on EPA's Web site.

Other EPA Web sites

Other Federal Departments and Agencies

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