Formation and Inventory of Polychlorinated Dibenzo- p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans and Other Byproducts along Manufacturing Processes of Chlorobenzene and Chloroethylene

Environ Sci Technol. 2023 Jan 31;57(4):1646-1657. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c07322. Epub 2023 Jan 22.


Chlorinated organic chemicals are produced and used extensively worldwide, and their risks to the biology and environment are of increasing concern. However, chlorinated byproducts [e.g., polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs)] formed during the commercial manufacturing processes and present in organochlorine products are rarely reported. The knowledge on the occurrences and fate of unintentional persistent organic chemicals in the manufacturing of organochlorine chemical is necessary for accurate assessment of the risks of commercial chemicals and their production. Here, PCDD/Fs were tracked throughout chlorobenzene and chloroethylene production processes (from raw materials to final products) by target analysis. Other byproducts that can further transform into PCDD/Fs were also identified by performing non-target screening. As a result, the PCDD/F concentrations were mostly the highest in bottom residues, and the octachlorinated congeners were dominant. Alkali/water washing stages may cause the formation of oxygen-containing byproducts including PCDD/Fs and acyl-containing compounds, so more attention should be paid to these stages. PCDD/Fs were of 0.17 and 0.21-1.2 ng/mL in monochlorobenzene and chloroethylene products, respectively. Annual PCDD/F emissions (17 g toxic equivalent in 2018) during chlorobenzene and chloroethylene production were estimated using PCDD/F emission factors. The results can contribute to the improvement of PCDD/F inventories for the analyzed commercial chemicals.

Keywords: PCDD/Fs; byproducts; chlorobenzene and chloroethylene manufacturing processes; emission factors; formation mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlorobenzenes
  • Dibenzofurans / analysis
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated / analysis
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated / chemistry
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins*
  • Vinyl Chloride* / analysis


  • Dibenzofurans
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • chlorobenzene
  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Dibenzofurans, Polychlorinated
  • Chlorobenzenes