Hexachloroethane fact sheet

CAS Registry Number 67-72-1

What is it?

  • Hexachloroethane is an industrial chemical. It does not occur naturally in the environment.

How is it used?

  • In Canada, hexachloroethane is used for the casting of aluminum products.
  • Hexachloroethane is also unintentionally formed during certain processes in the chlorinated chemical industry, and is also produced as a by-product of water treatment and the incineration of chlorinated hydrocarbons.
  • However, the use of hexachloroethane has declined significantly in Canada and it is being phased out internationally.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, hexachloroethane was identified as a potential concern to the environment and human health. Furthermore, it is classified by international organizations as a substance that may cause cancer in laboratory animals.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Exposure of the general population of Canada to hexachloroethane is minimal. Although the likelihood of exposure is low, the principal route of exposure to this substance would be from indoor air, based on data from a recent Canadian survey that were used in this screening assessment.

How is it released to the environment?

  • Hexachloroethane is expected to be released mainly to air, with smaller releases to water and soil.
  • Releases of hexachloroethane associated with the casting of aluminum products or from other industrial activities, are expected to be very low.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of hexachloroethane, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population in Canada and to the environment.
  • Results of the final screening assessment indicate that although hexachloroethane may remain in the environment for a long time, it is not expected to accumulate in organisms.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of hexachloroethane that has the potential to be released to the environment is below the level expected to cause harm to organisms.
  • The Government of Canada has therefore concluded that hexachloroethane is not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • The Government of Canada has also concluded that hexachloroethane is not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
  • Hazards related to chemicals used in the workplace should be classified accordingly under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment on Hexachloroethane on April 30, 2016.
  • Based on the conclusion of the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on hexachloroethane.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on the hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the dose (the amount of chemical to which you are exposed). Hexachloroethane is not a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to hexachloroethane in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions, and to dispose of the products appropriately.

Page details

Date modified: