Pollutant Information: Hexachlorobenzene 

About Hexachlorobenzene

Category: Air pollutants

Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is an organochloride. It is formed as a by-product during the manufacture of other chemicals. It was widely used as a fungicide. Due to HCB's persistence in the environment, it has been banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants. Very little information is available on the health effects of HCB via inhalation. However, the lungs may be affected by repeated or prolonged exposure. It is also considered to be a possible carcinogen. The largest source of emissions for the years 1990-1998 was the use of hexachloroethane (HCE) in secondary aluminium smelting. Control on this, led to emissions being zero for 1999 and onwards. From 1999 to 2008, pesticide application and chlorinated solvent production accounted for most of the UK HCB emissions. In 2009, emissions from chlorinated solvent production fell to zero, because of the closure of the sole production plant. Combined with steadily increasing emissions from power stations, pesticide application and combustion in power plants and energy production now account for almost all (50% and 47% respectively) of total HCB emissions in 2014. In 1990, the same two sectors contributed 3% to the total emissions.

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Time series graph


Notable events

Start year End year Sector Information Impact
1999 1999 Metal Production Abatement and change of process for secondary aluminium production Decrease in emissions
1990 1993 Chemical Industry Abatement and change of process for production of chemicals Decrease in emissions