Adsorable Organic Halogens is a measurement often used in waste water testing to indicate the overall level of the halogens, fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.


Best Available Techniques. BAT Standards are used to judge the performance of industrial processes and to provide a target for improvement plans. They are gathered in a BAT Reference Document (BREF).


Bioaccumulation denotes the accumulation of a substance in a living organism as a result of its intake both in food and from the environment. Determination of the B-factor (Bioaccumulation Factor) is extremely important in the risk analysis of a compound.


BAT Reference Document (See BAT: Best available Technique).


Carbon tetrachloride is produced by the high temperature chlorination of propylene or methane. It is used as a feedstock in the production of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs, as a process agent in the production of chlorine, to extract nitrogen trichloride, and as a solvent to recover chlorine from tail gas. It has been phased out in dispersive uses since 1995 under the Montreal Protocol.


The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is the Brussels-based organisation representing national chemical industry federations and chemical companies.


Trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene), and methylene chloride (also known as dichloromethane), are the main solvents in this group. Due to their non-flammability, these compounds have been widely used for cleaning metals in the electronics industry and for dry cleaning of clothes. The use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane was phased out at the end of 1995 under the Montreal Protocol.


In its “normal” state, chlorine is a greenish yellow gas, but at -34°C it turns to a liquid. It is the eleventh most common element in the earth’s crust and is widespread in nature. Chlorine is a key building block of modern chemistry and used in three principal ways: direct use (e.g. to disinfect water); as a raw material for chlorine-containing products (e.g. plastics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides) and as an intermediate to manufacture non-chlorinated products (eg polycarbonates and polyurethanes).


Chloroform, which is produced mainly by the chlorination of methane, is used as an intermediate in the production of refrigerants, agrochemicals and fluoropolymers. It is no longer used as an anaesthetic.


International Committee of Textile Care. Dry-cleaning is a major application of perchloroethylene.


Chemicals classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic. After GHS/CLP Regulation there are three classes of CMR: Cat. 1A means proven at humans, Cat. 1B, means proven at animals and Cat. 2 suspected of having CMR properties.


The study of the harmful effects of chemical compounds on species, population and the natural environment.


European inventory of existing commercial chemical substances.


Abbreviation for “Extractable Organohalogens”. The fraction of AOX which is extractable by a non-polar organic solvent. This fraction contains the relatively lipophilic (fat-soluble) organic compounds. EOX gives a better indication of the amount of organic halogens susceptible to lipophilic absorption. It often represents about one tenth of the AOX measured.


European Pollutant Emissions Register: established by the EU Commission in 2000. Member States must produce a triennial report on the emissions of industrial facilities to air and water. Early 2005, the European Parliament Environment Committee endorsed the new European Pollutants Releases and Transfer Register (EPRTR), which has replaced EPER from 2009.


A family of chemical elements that comprises fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.


Hydrogen chloride (HCl) is a colourless gas with a pungent odour; its aqueous solution is known as hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen chloride is produced by burning hydrogen and chlorine together and is also a by-product of the chlorination of organic compounds. HCl is used in the production of the plastic PVC, silicone rubbers, methyl chloride, inorganic salts and many other chemicals.


The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization. The IARC issues monographs which are independent expert assessment on cancer hazards of chemicals.


International uniform chemical information database, a software application to capture, store, maintain and exchange data on intrinsic and hazard properties of chemical substances.


Methylene chloride (dichloromethane), is a versatile chlorinated solvent that is produced by chlorination of either methane or methyl chloride. It is used in a broad spectrum of applications: paint stripping, adhesives, process solvent and tablet-coating agent in the pharmaceutical industry, solvent in polycarbonate production, blowing agent for polyurethanes, food extraction, metal degreasing.


Chlorine is one of the elements most frequently found in nature; it is even more abundant than carbon. Chlorides, i.e. salts containing chlorine, are one of the few raw materials which will not be exhausted within the foreseeable future. Naturally-occurring chlorine compounds are present in our blood, skin and teeth, and chlorine in the form of hydrochloric acid has an important part to play in the digestive process. There are also organic compounds present in nature which contain chlorine; marine algae, for example, produce about 5,000,000 tonnes of methyl chloride annually (ie: around 15 times more than yearly industrial production). In total, more than 2,000 natural organic chlorine compounds have already been identified.


The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. In 1998, the global chemical industry, through the ICCA and in cooperation with the OECD, launched the High Production Volume (HPV, produced >1.000mt/y), Chemicals Initiative. Under this program, screening-level hazard data is collected and submitted to the OECD member countries for hazard assessment.


Occupational Exposure Limit: General term for concentration of air contaminants above which people should not be exposed at work.


Chemicals classified as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic.


Perchloroethylene (PER) or tetrachloroethylene is the primary solvent used in the industrial and commercial dry-cleaning of clothes. Its other major uses are as a metal cleaning and degreasing solvent, and as a chemical intermediate in the production of several fluorinated compounds.


Stability of chemical compounds in the environment. Persistence is an important negative criterion in the ecological assessment of chemicals.


Persistent organic pollutants, a group of PBTs which are capable of long-range transport and deposition; they are believed to be transported primarily in the atmosphere. These have global effects. Most are already banned in Western Europe but some are still in use in developing countries. The POPs include the following 12: PCBs, dioxins and furans, chlorine,  aldrin (see higher), dieldrin,   DDT , endrin , chlordane , hexachlorobenzene, Mirex , toxaphene and heptachlor. They fall into three groups: chlorinated pesticides; industrial chemicals; and emissions and by-products. POPs and other PTBs are being examined by various national, regional and international bodies with the aim of developing management strategies.
More information about POPs can be found here.


Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals: the EU chemicals policy. It is expected to require companies that manufacture or import more than one tonne of a chemical per year to register it in a central database managed by the EU chemicals Agency.

See the REACH page.


Development of an allergic reaction, especially involving the skin or lungs when exposed to a chemical.


A solvent is a liquid that has the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other materials, without chemical change to the material or solvent. Solvents make it possible to process, apply, clean or separate materials. Water is an inorganic solvent. Organic solvents include hydrocarbon solvents, oxygenated solvents and chlorinated solvents.


Chemical name of perchloroethylene (see under that name).


Trichloroethylene is mainly used in the degreasing of metals. Under the VOC Directive, its use in that application is restricted to enclosed systems in all new installations; old installations will have to comply with stringent emission limits after April 2007. Trichloroethylene also is used to a much lesser extent in adhesive and aerosol formulations and as a chemical process intermediate in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and fluorochemical production.


World Health Organization: the United Nations specialised agency for health. Its objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible levels of health.”