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Environmental fate & pathways

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Hydrolysis is not expected to be an important removal process for tetrachloroethylene. Half-lives in the range from 8.8 months to several million years have been reported (Dilling et al., 1975; Jeffers et al 1989). Photolysis is not likely to be a significant removal process for tetrachloroethylene. Tetrachloroethylene (1 mg/ml) in water was degraded by 59 -65% after one year in the dark and by 75 -76% in the presence of sunlight (Dilling et al., 1975).

Tetrachloroethylene undergoes reactions with hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere. The calculated half life of tetrachloroethylene due to this reaction is 50 days with a OH radical concentration of 1.5E6 OH/cm3 (AOPWIN, 2000), with an overall OH-rate constant of 2.14E-13cm3/molecule.sec. Tetrachloroethylene also reacts with ozone, nitrate radicals and hydroperoxy radicals in the atmosphere but are thought to be insignificant atmospheric degradation processes. Tetrachloroethylene can also react with chlorine atoms in the atmosphere. Overall, tetrachloroethylene is degraded in the atmosphere.

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