What is it? Chlorinated phenols are a group of organic compounds that the phenol is bonded with one or more chlorines. They are man-made chemicals which are soluble in organic solvents. In particular, pentachlorophenol (PCP), tetra- and trichlorophenols (TeCP and TCP), have been used as fungicides, insecticides, disinfectants, and as anti-fouling paint ingredients.
Potential hazards: Chlorinated phenols are known to be harmful. Especially, PCP is highly toxic to humans and the aquatic life. It is toxic when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Short-term exposure may lead to damage of the central nervous system and long-term exposure can cause reproductive effects, liver and kidney damage, and cancer.
Commonly found in: These substances were used widely as biocides and preservatives. Owing to their toxicity, many countries restricted the use and production. Literature shows that PCP can be found in impregnated wood e.g. pallets, fences; impregnated textiles such as wool, cotton, linen and jute; leather and paper processing. These substances may remain in the finished products.
Related legislation (non-exhaustive):
REACH Regulation Annex XVII, entry 19
Austria - Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance
Denmark - Chemical Substances and Products Act
Germany - Chemical Prohibition Act
The Netherlands - Commodities Act on Pentachlorophenol