What is pentachlorophenol and its potential health hazard?
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a group of polychlorinated compounds used as preservatives for wood, leather and textiles to shield against the attack of moulds, fungus and bacteria.
It is commonly found in:
Textiles, leather and some wood products
Fungicides during cotton farming
Preservatives in print pastes
The most important reason for banning PCP is that the combustion of these chemicals will release chloro dioxins, which are among the most toxic substances known in the world. PCP is also suspected to be carcinogenic. For example, burning wood treated with PCP liberates polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PCDD/F).
Table A shows the maximum limit (non-exhaustive) of each country
Banned (textiles & leather goods)
5mg/ kg (wood products)
Related legislation (non-exhaustive)
There are no EU regulations but some countries have national requirements. For example:
Austria: Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance
Denmark: Chemical Substances and Products Act
Germany: Chemical Prohibition Ordinance
The Netherlands: Commodities Act on Pentachlorophenol
Poland: Regulation on Safety and Textile Marking
Norway: Product Regulations
Switzerland: Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance
Case studies of issues resolved
Case 1: PCP detected in an olive green woven shirt, 40 x 40’s