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Promotional activities, seeking the extension of industrial uses of trichloroethylene, frequently fail to disclose the toxic nature of this chemical and the practical dangers that may attend its use. Trichloroethylene (C2HCl3) is a chlorinated hydrocarbon, similar in qualities to chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and ethylene dichloride. It is recommended for use as a dry cleaning agent, as a cleanser of metal parts, as a fumigant, as a solvent for insecticides, as a general degreasing agent, and as a solvent for many oils, fats, greases, gums, tars, waxes and rubber. The product has been standardized.
Basically, the deleterious action of trichloroethylene is like that of carbon tetrachloride. It is customary to rate trichloroethylene as having a toxicity of 1.7 when that for carbon tetrachloride is arbitrarily fixed at 1.0. From personal experience with animals (rabbits) the toxicity of the two substances is regarded as almost equal, both in the
McCord CP. TOXICITY OF TRICHLOROETHYLENE. JAMA. 1932;99(5):409. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740570055030
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