PER, Tetrakloreten (TECEE, Perkloretylen, C2Cl4)
Tetrachloroethylene belongs to the group volatile organic compounds (VOC). Tetrachloroethylene is a colourless, non-flammable volatile liquid with a sweet odour.1 2
Tetrachloroethylene is a solvent that is mainly used in dry cleaning and for degreasing within the metal industry.3 4 In Sweden it is prohibited to market tetrachloroethylene to consumers for private use.5 However, tetrachloroethylene is allowed to be used professionally.6
Sources and transportation pathways
Tetrachloroethylene is produced industrially and is emitted to the environment by human activity, e.g. from dry cleaners, the metal industry or by leakage from waste management sites.7 It is emitted to air, water and land in locations where it is produced or used.8 Tetrachloroethylene has low degradability,9 which means that it can travel far distances if emitted to air. In water, the substance evaporates quickly and ends up in the air, although part of it may stay in the water. If tetrachloroethylene is emitted to land, part of it evaporates to air and part of it ends up in the groundwater.10
Effects on environment and health
As a VOC, tetrachloroethylene can be involved in the formation of ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone may damage vegetation and during episodes of elevated VOC levels, it may cause irritation of the respiratory tract in humans.
Tetrachloroethylene is toxic to aquatic organisms and results in long-term effects.11 12 In humans it may cause severe irritation of the eyes and skin, as well as an allergic skin reaction and drowsiness or dizziness. It is also believed to cause cancer.13 14
International agreements and regulations
Tetrachloroethylene is regulated by the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), the EU Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC) and the EU Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC). The presence of tetrachloroethylene in products is regulated by the EU regulation on cosmetic products (EC 1223/2009). The UN Protocol on PRTRs and the EU E-PRTR regulation regulate how data on tetrachloroethylene emissions is made available.
As a VOC, tetrachloroethylene is indirectly regulated by the UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as by the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive (2001/81/EC) and the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU).