Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene)


CAS No. 127-18-4

Tetrachloroethylene (Cl₂C=CCl₂) is a colorless liquid with a mild, chloroform-like odor.  Exposure to tetrachloroethylene may cause irritation eyes, skin, nose, throat, and respiratory system. It may also cause liver damage and is a potential occupational carcinogen. Workers may be harmed from exposure to tetrachloroethylene. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Tetrachloroethylene is used in many industries. It’s used to dry clean fabrics, manufacture other chemicals, and degreasing metal parts.  Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to tetrachloroethylene include the following:

  • Workers in dry cleaning industries
  • Workers who use it to degrease metals
  • Workers in industries who use it to make other chemicals

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses tetrachloroethylene, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to tetrachloroethylene. Useful search terms for tetrachloroethylene include “perchlorethylene,” “perchloroethylene,” “perk,” and “tetrachlorethylene.”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

Logo of NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.

Logo of Manual of Analytical Methods.Cdc-pdf[PDF - 47 KB]

The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

Logo of Health Hazard Evaluations consisting of three letters: HHE

The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on tetrachloroethylene.

Related NIOSH Resources

Selected Publications

Related Resources

International Resources

Page last reviewed: November 15, 2018, 12:00 AM