Hexachloroethane is a byproduct of many industrial chlorination processes.It is currently being manufactured directly in China. The overall reaction is shown below. This reaction occurs stepwise.
C2H6 + 6 Cl2 → C2Cl6 + 6 HCl
It has been used by the military in smoke compositions, such as base-eject smoke munitions smoke grenades, called hexachloroethane (HCE) smoke or HC smoke, utilize a mixture containing roughly equal parts of HCE and zinc oxide and approximately 6% granular aluminium. These smokes are toxic, which is attributed to the production of zinc chloride (ZnCl2).