Agent Name


Alternative Name


CAS Number




Major Category



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]

Reference Link

ATSDR - ToxFAQs - Tetrachloroethylene

Exposure Assessment

Perc in end-exhaled air = 3 ppm; perc in blood = 0.5 mg/L; sample prior to last shift of workweek; TCA in urine = 3.5 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]

Half Life

Blood: 96 hours; trichloroascetic acid in urine: 80 hours (may be longer depending upon fat deposition); [TDR, p. 1010]

Reference Link

ATSDR Medical Management - Tetrachloroethylene

Adverse Effects

CNS Solvent Syndrome


Hepatotoxin, Secondary



Reproductive Toxin


IARC Carcinogen

Probable Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Anticipated Human Carcinogen

ACGIH Carcinogen

Confirmed Animal

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:


Activities with risk of exposure: