What is dicyclopentadiene (DCPD)?

DCPD is a chemical that is produced by heating crude oil. It is a colorless, flammable solid or liquid, with a disagreeable camphor-like odor.

Where is DCPD used?

DCPD is used as a chemical intermediate for production of certain pesticides and resins. It is also used in the production of paints, varnishes, and in flame retardants for plastics.

What happens to DCPD when it enters the environment?

The majority of DCPD enters the environment (air, water, and soil) from releases during its production, use, transport, or disposal. In air, DCPD breaks down quickly into simpler, less toxic chemicals. However, it is stable for a long time in soil and water.

How might I be exposed to DCPD?

Most people are not exposed to DCPD regularly. However, people who work in, or live near, factories that produce or use DCPD may be exposed to it in air, water, and soil.

What are the health effects associated with DCPD exposure?

DCPD may cause health effects when it is breathed or swallowed or when it touches the skin.  The health effects associated with short-term exposure to DCPD at 1 to 5 parts per million (ppm) include eye, skin, and throat irritation. Some people can smell DCPD when levels reach 0.003 ppm. However, no ill effects are expected to occur at this level. A single, short-term exposure is not likely to produce health effects. Long-term, repeated exposure may cause kidney, lung, and nervous system damage.

How likely is DCPD to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive effects?

It is not known whether DCPD causes cancer, reproductive, or birth defects in people. Studies have not reported effects on reproduction, birth defects, or cancer when animals were exposed to DCPD.

What tests can be done if a person is exposed to DCPD?

There are no specific blood and urine tests that can show whether a person has been exposed to DCPD.

What can I do to reduce exposure to DCPD after an accidental release?

You can take the following steps to reduce possible exposure to DCPD after an accidental release:

  • Shut all the outside doors and windows in the home
  • Turn off all heating, cooling and ventilation systems
  • Close fireplace dampers
  • Direct a fan inside the house toward any outdoor opening to keep contaminated outside air from entering

If you are outdoors during an accidental release, avoid eye and skin contact with the DCPD vapor.  If DCPD gets into your eyes or on your skin, wash eyes and skin immediately with large amounts of water.

What are the standards or guidelines for DCPD to protect human health?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established a recommended exposure limit (REL) of 5 ppm time-weighted average in the workplace air for a normal 10-hour work day and a 40-hour work week. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) also recommends a limit of 5 ppm time-weighted average for workplace air for a normal 8-hour work day and 40-hour work week.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not enforce a permissible exposure limit.


Updated 2021