Agent Name
Alternative Name
CAS Number
Major Category
Tetrachloroethylene formula graphical representation
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethene; 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethylene; Ankilostin; Antisol 1; Carbon bichloride; Carbon dichloride; Czterochloroetylen [Polish]; Didakene; Dilatin PT; Dow-per; Ethene, tetrachloro-; Ethylene tetrachloride; Ethylene, tetrachloro-; Fedal-UN; PCE; PERK; Perawin; Perc; Perchloorethyleen, per [Dutch]; Perchlor; Perchloraethylen, per [German]; Perchlorethylene; Perchlorethylene, per [French]; Perchloroethylene; Perclene; Perclene D; Percloroetilene [Italian]; Percosolv; Percosolve; Perklone; Persec; Tetlen; Tetracap; Tetrachlooretheen [Dutch]; Tetrachloraethen [German]; Tetrachlorethylene; Tetrachloroethene; Tetrachloroethylene; Tetrachloroethylene (IUPAC); Tetracloroetene [Italian]; Tetraguer; Tetraleno; Tetralex; Tetravec; Tetroguer; Tetropil; [ChemIDplus] UN1897
Chlorinated Aliphatics
Colorless liquid with a mild, chloroform-like odor; [NIOSH]
Primary dry cleaning solvent being used today; [Ladou, p. 552] Used in dry cleaning, metal degreasing, as a chemical intermediate, and in typewriter correction fluids; [HSDB] Dry cleaning operators who transferred wet garments to a dryer had mean levels of 150 ppm. Other job tasks with substantial exposure were degreasing (95 ppm), cleaning mining equipment, testing coal, cleaning animal coats (taxidermy), and cleaning/duplicating film. [PMID 18949603]
Perchloroethylene can induce anesthesia. Liver and kidney injury have been reported after accidental exposures to high concentrations. [ACGIH] Tetrachloroethylene causes "trivial hepatotoxicity, unless exposure is very heavy or agent ingested." [Zimmerman, p. 333] Perchloroethylene causes skeletal abnormalities in high-dose reproductive studies of mice. Increased spontaneous abortion rates were found in occupationally exposed women in Finland but not in other countries studied (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden). [Frazier, p. 182-3] Perchloroethylene is in the list of "Some volatile substances which may be abused by inhalation" published on the web site of the U.N. International Drug Control Programme, indicating its potential to cause narcosis in workers. [Flanagan et al. Volatile Substance Abuse] A skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant; May cause kidney and liver injury; Inhalation of high concentrations can cause CNS depression; [ICSC] "In conclusion, this historically prospective cohort study of dry-cleaners and laundry workers showed no clear association between occupational exposure to PER [perchloroethylene] and subsequent incidence of cancer, adding weight to the part of the available epidemiological evidence that suggests absence of such an association." [PMID 20886350]
Sales of perchloroethylene in Sweden dropped about 95% between the early 1970s and 30 years later due to regulations and changes in dry-cleaning operations. [PMID 20886350]
Biomedical References

Exposure Assessment

Tetrachlorethylene in end-exhaled air = 3 ppm; Tetrachloroethylene in blood = 0.5 mg/L; sample prior to shift; [ACGIH]
Skin Designation (ACGIH)
Insufficient data
25 ppm
100 ppm
100 ppm, Ceiling(OSHA) = 200 ppm(300 ppm is 5-min peak in any 3 hrs)
10 ppm
150 ppm
Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs
It has been reported that 2,000 ppm caused slight narcosis in 5 minutes; 930­1185 ppm caused irritation of the eyes and throat, and marked dizziness after 2 minutes; 1,000 ppm caused slight drunkenness, but no narcosis after 95 minutes; 513­690 ppm caused eye, throat, and nose irritation, dizziness, loss of inhibition, and some incoordination after 10 minutes; 500 ppm for 2 hours caused slight discomfort; 206­356 ppm for 2 hours caused headache, burning of the eyes, sinus congestion, impaired coordination, and nausea; 206­235 ppm for 20­30 minutes caused eye irritation, sinus congestion, dizziness, and sleepiness; and 106 ppm caused only slight eye irritation [Negherbon 1959; Rowe et al. 1952].
Vapor Pressure
18.5 mm Hg
Odor Threshold Low
2 ppm
Odor Threshold High
71 ppm
Lethal Concentration
LC50 (rat) = 34,200 mg/m3/8H
Explanatory Notes
Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 47 ppm); Odor threshold = 1 ppm; [ATSDR ToxFAQs] VP from HSDB;
Half Life
Blood: 96 hours; trichloroacetic acid in urine: 80 hours (may be longer depending upon fat deposition); [TDR, p. 1010]
will not burn
100 ppm
200 ppm
1,000 ppm

Adverse Effects

Acute solvent syndrome
Hepatoxic (a) from occupational exposure (secondary effect) or (b) in animal studies or in humans after ingestion
Reproductive Toxin
IARC Carcinogen
Probable (2a)
NTP Carcinogen
Anticipated human carcinogen
ACGIH Carcinogen
Confirmed Animal

Diseases, Processes, and Activities Linked to This Agent


Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:


Activities with risk of exposure: