Ethylene Dichloride

What is Ethylene Dichloride?

Ethylene dichloride (chemical formula: C2H4Cl2), is a colourless and oily liquid with a chloroform odour and sweet taste. Ethylene dichloride mixes well with most common solvents and it is slightly soluble in water. It is a flammable and toxic chemical. 

What is Ethylene Dichloride used for?

Ethylene dichloride is used in the production of:

  • PVC pipes
  • Synthetic rubbers
  • Fuel additive
  • Paints, coatings and adhesives
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Dry cleaning solution 
  • Flooring
  • Coloured film
  • Pesticides/fumigants 
  • Cleaning products
  • Solvents
  • Vinyl chloride
Ethylene dichloride is commonly used in the product of PVC pipes, such as those used in plumbing applications. 
Ethylene dichloride is commonly used in the product of PVC pipes, such as those used in plumbing applications. 

Ethylene Dichloride Hazards

The routes of exposure for ethylene dichloride include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of ethylene dichloride can cause respiratory irritation in some people with other symptoms including sleepiness, reduced alertness, vertigo, loss of reflexes and lack of coordination, headache, nausea, central nervous system depression and kidney/liver damage. Severe exposure to the chemical can result in death from respiratory failure or cardiace arrest.  

Ingestion of ethylene dichloride can be fatal, with consumption of less than 150g expected to cause death, according to animal experiments. Other symptoms of ingestion include dizziness, incoherence, nausea, vomiting, blue hands/feet and in extreme cases,  bleeding in the bowels and brain.

Skin exposure can lead to significant inflammation, with repeated exposure expected to cause redness, swelling, blistering, cracking, flaking, drying and even first-degree burns. Other toxic effects may result following absorption, hence open cuts and wounds should be protected adequately to ensure the chemical does not enter the bloodstream. 

Eye exposure can cause severe pain and inflammation, with repeated eye exposure expected to cause corneal clouding.

Ethylene Dichloride Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Transport to hospital without delay. 

If swallowed, urgent hospital treatment is likely to be required. In the meantime, someone qualified in first aid should observe and treat the patient, referring to the SDS for instruction. If medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, wearing gloves, induce vomiting with fingers down the back of the throat, ensuring the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side to prevent aspiration. The patient should avoid drinking any milks, oils and alcohol. 

If the event of skin exposure, remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and flush the affected area with plenty of soap and running water. Seek medical attention if irritation occurs. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water for at least 15 minutes, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Contact lenses should not be removed in the event of thermal burns. Transport to hospital without delay. 

Ethylene Dichloride Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains and safety showers should be accessible in the immediate chemical handling area. It is vital there is always adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants to prevent overexposure (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling ethylene dichloride includes safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, half face filter respirators, PVC/neoprene gloves, PVC aprons, overalls and safety footwear/gumboots. 

Refer to the SDS before handling ethylene dichloride to ensure you are equipped with the proper safety knowledge required. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at for more information about our chemicals management solutions.