U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Dense Nonaqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs)

Environmental Occurrence

Halogenated Alkanes


1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP, CAS# 96-12-8) is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of organic chemicals, such as the brominated flame retardant tris[(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate]. Until 1977, DBCP was used extensively in the United States as a soil fumigant and nematocide on field crops, vegetables, fruits and nuts, nursery and greenhouse crops, and turf. From 1977 to 1979, EPA suspended registration of products containing DBCP except for use on pineapples in Hawaii. In 1985, EPA issued a notice of intent to cancel all registrations for DBCP-containing pesticide products, including use on pineapples (HSDB and ATSDR 1992).

The California Environmental Protection Agency sampled water wells throughout the state and analyzed the samples for pesticides. Even though DBCP had been banned for more than 20 years, it was one of the most frequently found chemicals in the survey (Nordmark et al. 2008).

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) prepares a CERCLA Priority List of Hazardous Substances based on an algorithm that has three components: frequency of occurrence at NPL sites, toxicity, and potential for human exposure. DBCP is the third highest-ranked halogenated alkane on the 2007 list.

In a nationwide survey of public and private water wells, Zogorski et al. (2006) found that DBCP detections had regional or local occurrence patterns rather than a ubiquitous pattern. The investigators concluded that most of the concentrations of potential concern were attributed to the fumigant DBCP (in domestic well samples only) and the solvents PCE and TCE in samples from both domestic and public supply wells.


CERCLA Priority List of Hazardous Substances
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Web site.

1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane, CASRN: 96-12-8
PubChem, National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The Quality of Our Nation's Waters: Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking-Water Supply WellsAdobe PDF Logo
Zogorski, J., J. Carter, T. Ivahnenko, W. Lapham, M. Moran, B. Rowe, P. Squillace, and P. Toccalino.
U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1292, 112 pp, 2006

Sampling for Pesticide Residues in California Well Water: 2007 Update of the Well Inventory DatabaseAdobe PDF Logo
Nordmark, C., J. Dias, M. Clayton, J. Troiano, and M. Pepple.
California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Pesticide Regulation, EH08-01, 153 pp, 2008

Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 2018

Additional Information

Adobe PDF LogoGroundwater Information Sheet: Dibromochloropropane (DBCP)
California State Water Resources Control Board, 8 pp, 2010.

This brief groundwater information sheet provides general information (fate and transport, health effects, testing and remediation methods) and identifies where high levels of the compound are found in California. The information is pulled from a variety of sources, and a bibliography is provided.