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Environmental fate & pathways

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Biodegradation is the major route of removal of trichloroethane from the aquatic environment and from industrial waste water finding its way into sewage treatment plants. The material can be degraded by either the aerobic or anaerobic route but the latter is of the greatest importance. There are a number of potential ways that 1,1,1-trichloroethane can be utilised by anaerobic bacteria but there is sufficient work to show that once bacterial populations become acclimatised to this material it is rapidly removed from contaminated waste water with a DT50 of approximately one day. The bacteria present in sewage treatment plants appear reasonably tolerant of the material with an LC50 of 360mg/L. In practice this concentration should never be reached except following accidental spillages.