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


In the past, bromodichloromethane (BDCM) was used as a solvent for fats, waxes, and resins, as a flame retardant, as a heavy liquid for mineral and salt separations, and as a fire extinguisher fluid ingredient (ATSDR 1989). Now it is only used as a reagent or intermediate in organic chemistry. The compound is not produced commercially in the United States. In 2001, Chem Sources listed 19 suppliers of the chemical (NTP 2005).

EPA's Toxics Release Inventory shows only one facility with a BDCM release (296 pounds to the atmosphere) in 2007. In contrast, 15,294 pounds of BDCM were reported released to the atmosphere in 1992.

An on-line search of EPA's CERCLIS database for bromodichloromethane returned 59 hazardous waste sites at which the compound has been reported. A sampling of these sites indicates that BDCM occurs at very low levels and probably does not occur at any site as a DNAPL.

Most BDCM in the environment is formed as a byproduct when chlorine is added to drinking water to kill disease-causing organisms (ATSDR 1989). In a U.S. Geological Survey nationwide assessment of water quality in public and private water wells, it was the ninth most prevalent volatile organic chemical found in the aquifer study, detected in about one percent of the samples. The occurrence of BDCM was associated with oxic conditions and public wells (four percent of samples). It was detected more frequently in areas with low groundwater recharge and in areas with sewer systems. Less than one percent of domestic wells sampled contained BDCM (Zogorski et al. 2006). The compound also can be produced by the bleaching process during pulp and paper manufacturing.

While chlorination of drinking water is a prominent cause of BDCM in aquifers, marine algae have been identified as a natural source for the chemical (Zogorski et al. 2006).


Bromodichloromethane, CAS No. 75-27-4Adobe PDF Logo
Report on Carcinogens, Fourteenth Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program (NTP), 2016

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

Adobe PDF Logo Toxicological Profile for Bromodichloromethane
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 2020

For Further Information

Occurrence of Trihalomethanes in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking-Water Supply Wells, 1985-2002
Schaap, B.D., and J.S. Zogorski.
U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5068, 65 pp, 2006

Adobe PDF Logo Volatilization of Bromodichloromethane from Chlorinated Drinking Water as a Contributor to Residential Indoor Air Risk
Foster, S.J., J.P. Kurtz, and A.K. Woodland.
EnviroGroup Ltd. Web site, 2004