Perchloroethylene (PCE or "Perc") is a colorless, nonflammable liquid. The largest user of Perc is the dry cleaning industry. Perc accounts for 80% to 85% of all dry cleaning fluid used in the United States. Industrial uses of Perc include applications in textile mills, chlorofluorocarbon operations, vapor degreasing and metal cleaning operations, and by the makers of rubber coatings. Perc is used in consumer products including aerosol formulations, solvent soaps, printing inks, typewriter correction fluid, adhesives, sealants, polishes, lubricants, and silicones.
Exposure to Perc can occur in the workplace
or through environmental exposure following a release of Perc into the air or groundwater. Exposure may also occur when people use products that contain Perc, come into contact with the substance while visiting dry cleaning facilities, live adjacent to or above such a facility, or bring dry cleaned garments into the home.
Perc enters the body through inhalation of contaminated air or eating or drinking contaminated food
or water. It can also be absorbed through skin contact.
Perc's effect on humans depends on the amount an individual is exposed to, the health of the individual, and the length and frequency of exposure.
Short-term breathing of Perc can affect the nervous system. Effects range from dizziness
to loss of consciousness. Contact with a Perc liquid or vapor may irritate the skin
, and throat
Exposure to Perc over extended periods can cause liver
damage, as well as cancer
. Workers exposed repeatedly to large doses of Perc may also experience memory loss
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of exposure to Perc. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Toxic & Hazardous Substances
- Balance Problems: Overview
- Children's Health Matters: Overview
- Delirium: Overview
- Ear, Nose, & Throat Disorders
- Eye Disorders
- Fatigue: Overview
- Head, Spinal Cord, Brain & Nerve Disorders: Overview
- Kidney Failure
- Liver Problems
- Memory Loss
- Menstruation: Overview
- Miscarriage: Overview
- Skin Disorders: Overview
- Sweating: Overview
- Perchloroethylene: Frequently Asked Questions