PCP; formula: C6Cl5OH; CAS Registry Number: 87-86-5
Structure of pentachlorophenol
Source: PubChem
Identifier: CID 992

Persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon and effective biocide

It was widely used as insecticide, herbicide, fungicide, bactericide, algicide and molluscicide. The main field of application was wood and timber preservation, textile and leather treatment and pulp and paper production. As additive it is present in natural rubber and cosmetics.
It may, however, also evolve from chlorine bleaching of pulp and is a metabolite of hexachlorobenzene, pentachlorobenzene, pentachloronitrobenzene and of isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane.

Pentachlorophenol is almost always contaminated with dioxins and furans. These compounds can also be released from products containing PCP upon exposure to light or incineration.

In the environment pentachlorophenol is mobil. It is transported in the atmosphere and may thereby contaminate plants. In acid soil it is adsorbed to organic matter whereas it is mobile in alkaline soil and may leach into the ground water. PCP is readily degraded under aerobic conditions but degradation is slow under anaerobic conditions.

Pentachlorophenol is accumulated by organisms and is enriched in the food web (biomagnification). It is toxic to plants, animals and humans. Moreover, it is suspected to be carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic and to act as endocrine disruptor.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the production of pentachlorophenol was banned in 1986. Since 1989, trading and use is also prohibited.


  • Student groups with an even number of female and male students at the age of 20 to 29.

Sampling area

Sampling period

1982 - 2010