Public Health Statement for Dichloropropenes

Spanish: Dicloropropenos

CAS#: 26952-23-8

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This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for Dichloropropenes. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because these substances may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1 800-232-4636.

This public health statement tells you about dichloropropenes and the effects of exposure to it.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the most serious hazardous waste sites in the nation. These sites are then placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) and are targeted for long-term federal clean-up activities. 1,1-, 1,2-, 1,3 , and 2,3 Dichloropropene have been found in at least 2, 9, 107, and 3 of the 1,699 current or former NPL sites, respectively. 3,3 Dichloropropene was not identified in any of the 1,699 current or former NPL sites. Although the total number of NPL sites evaluated for this substance is not known, the possibility exists that the number of sites at which dichloropropenes are found may increase in the future as more sites are evaluated. This information is important because these sites may be sources of exposure and exposure to dichloropropenes may be harmful.

When a substance is released either from a large area, such as an industrial plant, or from a container, such as a drum or bottle, it enters the environment. Such a release does not always lead to exposure. You can be exposed to a substance only when you come in contact with it. You may be exposed by breathing, eating, or drinking the substance, or by skin contact.

If you are exposed to dichloropropenes, many factors will determine whether you will be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with these substances. You must also consider any other chemicals you are exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.

Most of the information on dichloropropenes is for one type of dichloropropene, 1,3-dichloropropene. There is much less information for 2,3-dichloropropene, almost no information on 1,2-dichloropropene, and no information on 1,1- and 3,3-dichloropropene.

What are dichloropropenes?

Five types (or isomers) of dichloropropene exist: 1,1 dichloropropene, 1,2 dichloropropene, 1,3 dichloropropene, 2,3 dichloropropene, and 3,3 dichloropropene.

1,3 Dichloropropene is a colorless liquid with a sweet smell. It dissolves in water and evaporates easily.

1,3 Dichloropropene is used mainly in farming to kill tiny pests called nematodes that eat the roots of important crops.

2,3 Dichloropropene is produced and used in industry to make other chemicals.

What happens to dichloropropenes when they enter the environment?

When 1,3 dichloropropene is used in farm fields, it is sprayed into the ground.

Some of the 1,3 dichloropropene in air may be washed down onto the ground, lakes, or streams by rain.

Break down

  • Air
    1,3 Dichloropropene is quickly broken down in air, usually within several days.
  • Water and soil
    Some of the 1,3 dichloropropene in soil and water will evaporate into the air. The rest will be broken down through biodegradation pathways and hydrolysis.

    Information on what happens to 1,1-, 1,2-, 2,3-, and 3,3 dichloropropene when they enter the environment is not available. Based on their physical and chemical properties, these substances are expected to behave similarly to 1,3 dichloropropene.

How might I be exposed to dichloropropenes?

Data regarding human exposure to 1,1-, 1,2-, 2,3-, and 3,3-dichloropropene were not located in the available literature. Exposure of the general population to these substances is expected to be low since they are not produced or used in large quantities.

Air—primary source of exposure
The primary way you can be exposed to 1,3-dichloropropene is by breathing air containing it.

1,3-Dichloropropene is rarely detected in urban air samples; measured levels are usually less than 0.5 parts per billion (ppb). Higher levels (5 ppb and lower) were measured in areas with high 1,3-dichloropropene use.

Water and soil
Low levels of 1,3-dichloropropene have been measured in water samples; the average concentration was 0.5 ppb.

1,3-Dichloropropene is rarely detected in soil samples.

Workers involved in the handling and application of 1,3-dichloropropene as a soil fumigant can be exposed to the chemical in air and through dermal contact.

1,3-Dichloropropene has not been detected in foods grown in fields treated with the chemical.

How can dichloropropenes enter and leave my body?

Enter your body

  • Inhalation
    When you breathe air containing 1,3- dichloropropene or 2,3 dichloropropene, most of the chemical will rapidly enter your body through your lungs.
  • Ingestion
    1,3-Dichloropropene and 2,3-dichloropropene in food or water may also rapidly enter your body through the digestive tract.
  • Dermal Contact
    It is likely that dichloropropenes will enter through your skin when you come into contact with liquids containing them.

Leave your body
Once in your body, dichloropropenes are broken down into other chemicals. Most of these other chemicals leave your body in the urine within few days.

How can dichloropropenes affect my health?

This section looks at studies concerning potential health effects in animal and human studies.


  • Inhalation
    Inhalation of dichloropropenes may cause respiratory effects such as irritation, chest pain, and cough.
  • Oral
    Oral exposure may cause gastrointestinal effects that include irritation, erosion of the stomach lining, diarrhea, and bleeding.
  • Dermal
    Dermal exposure may cause dermatitis and dermal sensitization.

Laboratory animals

  • Inhalation
    Animal studies have shown that inhalation of 1,3 or 2,3 dichloropropene can result in changes in the lining of the nose.

    Long-term exposure to 1,3 dichloropropene can cause damage to the lining of the urinary bladder and anemia.

  • Oral
    Oral exposure to 1,3 dichloropropene can result in damage to the stomach lining and anemia in animals.
  • Dermal
    Skin and eye irritation are seen in animals after 1,3 dichloropropene gets on their skin or in their eyes.

The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that 1,3 dichloropropene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that 1,3 dichloropropene is a possible carcinogen. EPA classified 1,3 dichloropropene as a probable human carcinogen.

How can dichloropropenes affect children?

This section discusses potential health effects in humans from exposures during the period from conception to maturity at 18 years of age.

Effects in children
There are no studies evaluating the effect of dichloropropenes exposure on children or immature animals. It is likely that children would have the same health effects as adults. We do not know whether children would be more sensitive than adults to the effects of dichloropropenes.

Birth defects
We do not know if dichlororpropenes will cause birth defects in people. Birth defects have not been seen in animals.

1,3 Dichloropropene did not cause birth defects in animals, but pregnant rats that breathed it gave birth to fewer rat pups or pups with lower body weight. These effects only happened at exposures high enough to be toxic to the mother and reduce her food intake.

How can families reduce the risk of exposure to dichloropropenes?

Avoid fields during pesticide application
Families can reduce their exposure to 1,3-dichloropropene by staying away from treated fields during pesticide application.

Workers who handle 1,3-dichloropropene should wash their hands before entering their homes and keep contaminated clothing isolated before it is washed.

Children should be encouraged to wash their hands after playing near treated soil and discouraged from putting their hands in their mouths.

Is there a medical test to determine whether I have been exposed to dichloropropenes?

Detecting exposure
It is possible to measure 1,3 or 2,3 dichloropropene or their breakdown products in blood and urine.

Measuring exposure
In humans, the levels of 1,3 dichloropropene break down products in the urine could be used to predict how much 1,3 dichloropropene has been inhaled.

Tests for 1,3 or 2,3 dichloropropene in the blood and urine would only be useful for recent exposures, because dichloropropenes leave the body within 1–2 days.

What recommendations has the federal government made to protect human health?

The federal government develops regulations and recommendations to protect public health. Regulations can be enforced by law. The EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are some federal agencies that develop regulations for toxic substances. Recommendations provide valuable guidelines to protect public health, but cannot be enforced by law. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are two federal organizations that develop recommendations for toxic substances.

Regulations and recommendations can be expressed as "not-to-exceed" levels, that is, levels of a toxic substance in air, water, soil, or food that do not exceed a critical value that is usually based on levels that affect animals; they are then adjusted to levels that will help protect humans. Sometimes these not-to-exceed levels differ among federal organizations because they used different exposure times (an 8-hour workday or a 24-hour day), different animal studies, or other factors.

Recommendations and regulations are also updated periodically as more information becomes available. For the most current information, check with the federal agency or organization that provides it.

Some regulations and recommendations for dichloropropenes include the following:

Drinking water
The EPA has determined that exposure to 1,3-dichloropropene in drinking water at concentrations of 0.03 parts per million (ppm) for 1 or 10 days is not expected to cause any noncancerous adverse effects in a child.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2008. Toxicological profile for Dichloropropenes. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your community or state health or environmental quality department or:

For more information, contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences
4770 Buford Highway
Chamblee, GA 30341-3717
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO 888-232-6348 (TTY)
Email: Contact CDC-INFO

ATSDR can also tell you the location of occupational and environmental health clinics. These clinics specialize in recognizing, evaluating, and treating illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances.

Page last reviewed: March 12, 2015