From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) is an organic chemical compound belonging to the group of halogenated hydrocarbons. It is a colorless to light straw-colored liquid with a sweet, chloroform-like odor. TCP is used primarily as an industrial solvent, an intermediate in chemical synthesis, and in the past, as a soil fumigant. Due to its toxic and carcinogenic properties, its use has been significantly restricted in many countries.

Properties and Production[edit | edit source]

TCP has the chemical formula C3H5Cl3 and a molecular weight of 147.43 g/mol. It is poorly soluble in water but highly soluble in organic solvents such as ethanol, methanol, and acetone. The compound is produced by the chlorination of propylene or allyl chloride in the presence of a catalyst.

Uses[edit | edit source]

Historically, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane was used extensively as:

  • A solvent in the paint and varnish industry.
  • A degreasing agent in the metal industry.
  • A chemical intermediate in the synthesis of other compounds, including pesticides.
  • A soil fumigant, particularly for nematode control in agriculture.

However, due to environmental and health concerns, its use in many of these applications has been phased out or severely restricted.

Health Effects[edit | edit source]

Exposure to 1,2,3-Trichloropropane can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. It is considered to be a potent carcinogen, with evidence linking it to an increased risk of cancer, particularly of the liver and kidneys. Other health effects include:

  • Irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
  • Central nervous system depression.
  • Liver and kidney damage.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

TCP is persistent in the environment and has been detected in groundwater, surface water, and soil. Its persistence and toxicity pose significant risks to aquatic life and potentially to human health through the contamination of drinking water supplies.

Regulation and Remediation[edit | edit source]

Due to its carcinogenic nature, the production and use of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane are regulated under various international agreements and national laws. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set maximum contaminant levels for TCP in drinking water, and it is classified as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Remediation of contaminated sites typically involves advanced techniques such as bioremediation, chemical oxidation, or adsorption onto activated carbon.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD