What to do against HCB?

There is a problem in the beautiful Görtschitztal in Carinthia. The whole drama can be read here. A report of the Federal Environment Agency is available here.

In principle, we are dealing with a large-scale poisoning of the environment and all the resulting disadvantages.

How toxic is HCB? *

HCB is among the twelve most dangerous industrial chemicals ever. It can u.a. Cause cancer, but also affect the liver and hormone system. It is also particularly dangerous because it is persistent (persistent, hardly biodegradable) and can accumulate in organisms. A longer lasting intake of small amounts can be more problematic than a one-time high intake.

What about the degradability of HCB in the environment and in the body? *

HCB is hardly degradable. In the soil, science assumes a half-life of about 20 years, which means that in 20 years half of it is mined.

Also in the body HCB is bad, but probably better than in the soil, degradable. In any case, it is crucial for a decrease that no new admission takes place. In any case, it can be assumed that a reduction takes many years.

It can be assumed that the half-life in the body depends on the concentration. That is, at high concentrations, degradation occurs slightly faster than at lower concentrations. Unfortunately, there is a lack of scientific research to provide more reliable information. An effective “detoxification method” is unknown.

* Source: Greenpeace

To make it short.

We sampled from a river that flows through the contaminated area and mixed it with different types of GaNS. Since this GaNS is a very special liquid, we had expected a change in the samples and were not disappointed.

In total, we had 10 samples examined by a research laboratory and provided the results report here.

ProtLab GPL


Molecular formula: C6Cl6

Physicochemical properties (IPCS, 1997)

Melting Point – 230°C
Boiling Point – Sublimes at 322°C
Vapour pressure – 0.0023 Pa at 20°C
Water Solubility – 5 μg/litre
Log octanol-water partition coefficient – 5.2

Major uses

Historically, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) had many uses in agriculture; the major agricultural application for HCB used to be as a seed dressing for crops such as wheat, barley, oats and rye to prevent the growth of fungi. The use of HCB in such applications was discontinued in many countries in the 1970s owing to concerns about the adverse effects on the environment and human health. However, HCB may continue to be used for this purpose in some countries. Currently, its main significance appears to be as a by-product of several chemical processes or an impurity in some pesticides. HCB is found to be widespread throughout the environment because it is mobile and resistant to degradation. Volatilization from water to air and sedimentation following adsorption to suspended particulates are the major removal processes from water. Although HCB is not readily leached from soils and sediments, some desorption does occur and may be a continuous source of HCB to the environment, even if inputs to the system stop. In the troposphere, HCB is transported over long distances by virtue of its persistence, but does undergo slow photolytic degradation (the half-life is approximately 80 days) (IPCS, 1997).

The bioaccumulative properties of HCB result from the combination of its physicochemical properties (high octanol–water partition coefficient) and its slow elimination due to limited metabolism related to its high chemical stability (IPCS, 1997).

Analytical Methods

HCB in water can be extracted with organic solvents (e.g., hexane) and then determined by gas chromatography using an electron capture detector. The detection limit of this method is 5 ng/litre (Ang et al., 1989).
Protlab GPL received water probes for analysing the concentration of HCB. The origin of the water is a river from southern Austria according to our client. Furthermore, other samples were taken from neighboring regions for examination, too.
We use for details examination in the environment the growth behavior (bioavailability) of Daphnia magna, which can be interpreted as an indicator of the residual concentration of HCB in water. Different technologies have been used, including research technologies and systems which are new cutting edge state-of-the-art methods . For us, the background is to better understand the bioaccumulation of substances like HCB. Our investigation also includes studies of contaminated water in different biocompartments, e.g. thus, the flow rate of a river, its sun exposure, and thus algae growth and plant growth could play a role in the bioaccumulation properties of HCB.
However, the toxicological and physcochemical characteristics of HCB and its methods of analysis in waters, foods, … are also in consistent movement and thus the maximum values since 1969. For example in 100 samples of surface waters HCB was found to be present in 90% at an average level of 2.1 ppt, 37 ppb were found in the soil and as much as 6.9 ppm in the liver of birds found dead in an certain circumcircle of intensive agriculture and industry. In the last 2 years, we also received samples from other parts from Europe and found HCB in cows milk (81%positive) at an average level of 4.4 ppb. However, our studies confirm the occurence of HCB as an “indecency” in agricultural excipients, its by-product synthesis during the synthesis of chemical industry products and its presence in industrial waste. But there is also a fluctuation in the concentration of different substances, which cause is still to be clarified.

ProtLab GPL does not guarantee that the information contained in this publication is complete and correct and shall not be liable for any damage incurred as a result of its use.

The analysis report says, that in 3 out of 10 samples no HCB contamination is detectable.

If you want to get rid of HCB in your water there are at least 3 ways to do it. We succeeded with our good old friends CuO2, CH3 and a Magrav system.

So what we did in detail is realy simple. We took 21 drops of CuO2 liquid plasma and put them into the water probe (10ml). We did the same with CH3 liquid plasma in another contamined water probe. In both probes there were no more HCB detectable after 2 days.

The third method of removing HCB out of water is the simplest one. You have to do nothing but put the water for at least 6 hours very close to a MaGrav system. We did it and had success.