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CAS Number: 127-18-4
Synonyms: 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethylene, Ethylene tetrachloride, PCE, PERC, Perchloroethene, Perchloroethylene, Tetrachloroethene
Contaminant Type: Chemical

Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene (PCE), tetrachloroethene, or perc, is a nonflammable colorless organic liquid with a mild, chloroform-like odor. It is used in the textile industry, as a component of aerosol dry-cleaning products, as a metal degreasing solvent, and as a chemical intermediate [2439, 2438].

PCE is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that transfers quickly from water to air. Therefore, it is found more often in groundwater than in surface water, from which it tends to volatilize rapidly. In a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study of groundwater, PCE was among the 15 most frequently detected VOCs, found in approximately 4 percent of 3,498 samples [2438]. In groundwater, PCE can biodegrade to trichloroethylene, dichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and ethene [2438, 2301]. U.S. EPA has found PCE in at least 945 of the 1,699 current or former NPL sites [2438].

PCE is regulated in drinking water in the US at a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 0.005 mg/L. USEPA has identified granular activated carbon and packed tower aeration as the two Best Available Technologies (BATs) for removal of PCE from drinking water [1250]. PCE can harm the nervous system, liver, kidneys, and reproductive system, and may be harmful to unborn children. EPA has classified it as a likely human carcinogen [2439, 2440, 2438, 2301].

Date of Literature Search: 2016

1250 Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, United States; 2009; Title 40, Part 141, Subpart G, Section 141.61 Maximum contaminant levels for organic contaminants; http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=a05e26cfb3d8ea7be7ac637c411c4c39&rgn=div8&view=text&node=40:; As posted on 09/14/2009. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, United States.
2301 World Health Organization; 2011; Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. 4th Edition ; Geneva, Switzerland;
2438 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; 2014; Draft Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene; http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp18.pdf;
2439 USEPA; 2016; Tetrachloroethylene: Ground Water & Drinking Water Fact Sheet; https://safewater.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/202346207-Tetrachloroethylene;
2440 Integrated Risk Information System; 2012; IRIS Summary for Tetrachloroethylene; U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment; https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris2/chemicalLanding.cfm?substance_nmbr=106