Final Risk Evaluation for Perchloroethylene Released

A final risk evaluation for perchloroethylene was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2020. Completed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), it includes conclusive determinations on conditions of use found to pose unreasonable human health risks or risks to the environment. In this blog post, we discuss this evaluation and several of the principal findings associated with it.

About Perchloroethylene

Perchloroethylene is a colorless, liquid, volatile organic solvent possessing a wide range of industrial applications. Uses include acting as a solvent in dry cleaning, degreasing of metals, as a chemical intermediate, and more.


IUPAC Name1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethene
Chemical FormulaC2Cl4
CAS Registry Number127-18-4

Routes of exposure to perchloroethylene may vary based on the circumstances under which exposure occurs. While inhalation is the principal exposure route, exposure via other routes (such as ingestion and dermal or eye contact) is also possible.

Associations have been found between perchloroethylene exposure and a diversity of acute and chronic systemic health effects. Animal and human studies have also shown a link between exposure and carcinogenesis.

Key Findings

The EPA's final risk evaluation for perchloroethylene yielded several important findings, based on an assessment of 61 conditions of use.

  • Unreasonable risks to human health were found for the majority of evaluated conditions
    • For occupational users, unreasonable risks were found for most use conditions
      • This applies both to workers and to occupational non-users
      • Exceptions include distribution in commerce, as well as use in greases and lubricants as solvents for penetrating lubricants and cutting tool coolants
    • For consumer users, unreasonable risks were found for all use conditions
  • No unreasonable risks to the environment were found for any evaluated conditions of use

Moving Forward

With the release of the final risk evaluation for perchloroethylene, the EPA has two years to implement necessary actions for managing the unreasonable risks that are found to be associated with the chemical. The Agency will employ public feedback obtained for the evaluation in this process. Throughout the course of the risk management process for perchloroethylene, additional relevant information will be made accessible on the Agency's website as it becomes available.

Access to Essential Content

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