< Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons - PAHs Polychlorobiphenyls - PCBs >

Associated topic: persistent organic pollutants

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Sources of the pollutant

The main sources of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) emissions are combustion of diesel fuel and, to a lesser extent, wood and coal burning.

Pesticide spraying also releases HCB, but emissions from this source are not yet estimated by CITEPA.

In industry, chlorine was used in aluminium refining to remove traces of magnesium. Until the early 1990s, HCB was used as input for chlorine in this process, thus resulting in HCB emissions. HCB was banned in the secondary aluminium refining process in 1993.


Effect of the pollutant

The European Union has classified HCB as carcinogenic to humans.


Classification of sub-sectors* with the highest emission levels in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Other energy transformation sectors including: 49% including:
Domestic waste incineration with energy recovery  49%
2 Waste treatment 28%
3 Residential sector 16%
4 Non-metallic minerals, building materials 1.4%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 5.4 kg in 2006
Maximum observed: 1 244 kg in 1992
Trends in 2015: 5.9 kg
Trends 2015/1990: -99.5%
Trends 2015/maximum: -99.5%
Trends 2015/minimum: +10.0%

Measurement unit: kg (kilogramme)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Graph HCB 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab HCB 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate



All sectors except road transport are responsible for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) emissions in mainland France.

In 1990, the sector’s breakdown was very different from that in 2015, as... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)


Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017