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Fact Sheet: Pentachlorophenol (PCP)

This fact sheet explains the most important points in the Ministry of Environment and Energy Statutory Order on limiting the sale and use of pentachlorophenol (PCP). Please note that only the rules in the Statutory Order apply, this fact sheet is merely a guide.

What is the scope of the legislation?

The legislation covers:

  • chlorinated phenols and salts and esters hereof, including pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, as well as
  • chemical substances and products containing pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof.

Chlorophenols have been used as bactericides in cutting fluids, coolants, and abrasives. Pentachlorophenol has been used in wood preservatives.

What is the purpose of the legislation?

The legislation has been designed to prevent humans being harmed from contact with products containing or treated with chlorinated phenols or salts and esters hereof.

Chlorinated phenols can pollute with extremely toxic dioxins and dibenzofuranes.

Pentachlorophenol is very toxic, locally irritant, dangerous to the environment and a suspected carcinogen.

What does the legislation say?

It is not permitted to use chlorinated phenols and salts and esters hereof in the production of wood preservatives.

It not permitted to sell chemical substances and products containing 0.1 per cent by weight (1,000 ppm) or more pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof.

Chemical substances and products for cleaning clothes must not contain pentachlorophenol or salts hereof.

It is not permitted to import, sell, export or use goods containing 5 ppm or more pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof.

Are there exceptions from the legislation?

Pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof may be used in the manufacture of wood preservatives if the following criteria are met:

  • Only chemical substances and products containing up to 0.1 per cent by weight (1,000 ppm) pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof may be sold.
  • These substances and products must be sold in packaging containing at least 20 litres and exclusively for commercial users.
  • The packaging must include the phrase 'Forbeholdt industriel og erhvervsmæssig brug' ('For industrial and commercial use only') The text must be easy to read and in indelible lettering.
  • Technical pentachlorophenol may contain other chlorinated phenols up to a maximum of 12 per cent by weight. However, the content of trichlorophenol must not exceed 0.5 per cent by weight.
  • Pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof may contain a maximum of 1 ppm hexachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.
  • Products containing pentachlorophenol or salts and esters hereof may contain a maximum of 1 ppm hexachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.

Who is responsible?

Anyone importing, selling, exporting or using chlorinated phenols or salts and esters hereof or goods treated with these chemicals is responsible for ensuring that the rules are complied with as they appear in the Statutory Order.

The Danish EPA Chemical Inspection Service supervises the implementation of the legislation and is authorised to issue injunctions and bans. If the legislation is violated, this may lead to a fine or up to one years' imprisonment.

Where can I obtain more information?

The title of the Statutory Order is:
"Miljø- og Energiministeriets bekendtgørelse nr 420 af 21. april 1996 om begrænsning af salg og anvendelse af pentachlorphenol (PCP)" (Statutory Order No. 420 of 21 April 1996 from the Ministry of Environment and Energy on limiting the sale and use of pentachlorophenol (PCP).

You can find the Statutory Order in Danish on the Internet address: www.retsinfo.dk , at the library or you can order them at a bookshop in Denmark.