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  • Ethylene dibromide was used as a soil fumigant and pesticide. These uses have been banned by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) since 1984. Another main use was as a scavenger for lead in gasoline.
  • Ethylene Dibromide is used as a pesticide and fumigant for grains and fruit, a solvent for resins, gums and waxes, In water-proofing preparations, In anti-knock gasoline mixtures, in dye making, In making drugs. it is a colorless, heavy organic liquid with a mildly sweet chloroform-like odor.
  • Other names for EDB include 1,2-dibromoethane, ethylene bromide, and glycol dibromide.
  • The compound is slightly soluble in water, and soluble in ethanol, ether, acetate, and benzene. 1,2-Dibromoethane is noncombustible but may decompose upon heating to produce corrosive and/or toxic fumes. It also reacts as an
    alkylating agent and liberates bromide.
  • Ethylene dibromide reacts with hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere, with a half-life for this reaction of approximately 40 days. In water, its half-life  ranges from 2.5 to 13.2 years, and in soil it was detected 19 years after it had been applied.


  • Use in antiknock fluids and fuels; as a scavenger for lead in gasoline.
  • Use in production of waterproofing agents, fire extinguishing agents, and gauge fluids during manufacture of measuring instruments.
  • Use in organic synthesis in production of dyes, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, vinyl bromide, and ethylene oxide; used as a specialty solvent for resins, gums, waxes, celluloid, fats, and oils . 
  • It is also used in control of nematodes and moths in beehives. Use as a fumigant in preplanting operations, and on grains, fruits, tobacco, seeds, seed  beds, and vegetables; in mills and warehouses.
  • It was used for post-harvest application to a variety of vegetable, fruit, and grain crops.
  • It was also used to kill fruit flies on citrus fruits and in the soil to protect grasses in environments such as golf courses.
  • It is used sparingly today as a [fumigant] to kill termites and cockroaches.


  • Ethylene Dibromide is a DOT Poison Inhalation Hazard(PIH).
  • Ethylene dibromide is a severe eye, mucous membrane, and skin irritant, and a liver, kidneys, and lungs toxin.
  • Ethylene dibromide has been shown to cause significant increases in tumors of the respiratory tract, mammary gland, spleen, and nasal cavity when administered to animals by skin application, gavage, or inhalation.
  • EDB contact may damage the lung, skin, and eyes. Acute and chronic systemic effects may be seen in the liver, kidneys, and heart, and other internal organs and systems. Lung injury can also lead to secondary effects such as pneumonia and respiratory tract infections.
  • Ethylene dibromide is toxic through inhalation, dermal exposure, ingestion or ocular absorption. It is metabolized both by cytochrome P450 and GST enzymes.
  • The chronic effects of exposure to ethylene dibromide have not been extensively documented in humans. In one case in which a worker breathed ethylene dibromide for several years, he developed bronchitis, headache, and depression. His health improved after he stopped breathing air contaminated with ethylene dibromide.


  • EDB was removed from use as a soil fumigant in the United States in 1983.It is still used in other applications.
  • EHC 177 also indicates that legislation banning the use of lead in petrol and controlling the agricultural use of EDB has reduced world demand for this substance by 75 % to approximately 30000 tonnes.
  • Groundwater contamination of EDB has been confirmed at levels up to 0.3 mg/L. Usual levels of EDB found in groundwater were approximately 0.001 to 0.02 mg/L, which are similar to levels found in stored grain products.
  • The fastest degradation of EDB occurs at or near the soil surface. EDB is moderately persistent in the soil environment; a representative field half-life was estimated to be 100 days.
  • The cases of ethylene dibromide poisoning are observed for the last 5 years in the state of Madhya Pradesh especially in Bhopal region. The trend however found in increasing order.  

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