EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Organic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 zero MCLG (mg/L)
0.0002 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names DBCP
Sources Runoff/leaching from soil fumigant used on soybeans, cotton, pineapples, and orchards
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane is a persistent pesticide and groundwater contaminant associated with male sterility and severe reproductive toxicity; historically used as a soil fumigant on bananas and pineapples; banned by EPA in early 1980s.


1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane, or DBCP, is a dense yellow organic liquid with a pungent odor.


It is used primarily as an unclassified nematocide for soil fumigation of cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, snap beans, okra, aster, shasta daisy, lawn grasses and ornamental shrubs.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containing 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience reproductive difficulties, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.