Similar term(s): Trichloroethanoic acid, TCA, Trichloromethanecarboxylic acid.
CCl3COOH. A haloacetic acid (organic). A colourless to white,
crystalline solid with a sharp, pungent odor and very soluble in water.
Trichloroacetic acid is an irritant and corrosive. Inhalation of trichloroacetic
acid vapour may lead to a sore throat and cause fluid to fill the lungs
(pulmonary oedema). Trichloroacetic acid can burn the skin and eyes. Blurred
vision and permanent eye damage can occur. Long term exposures may lead to a
chronic cough and bronchial pneumonia may also occur. Teeth may erode.
Trichloroacetic acid is also corrosive on ingestion.
Trichloroacetic acid is used as a laboratory reagent but its main use is in
the production of its sodium salt, which is used in many industries, for
example, as a herbicide, etching agent and antiseptic. In the environment, very
small quantities of trichloroacetic acid are found in chlorinated drinking water
as a disinfection by product as a consequence of the reaction of chlorine with
natural organic matter and bromide ions in the raw water supply (from lake,
reservoirs, rivers, etc.).
Bromide - Chlorine - Haloacetic acids - Natural organic matter - Water disinfection by-product(s)