WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday officially characterized tetrachloroethylene—also known as perchloroethylene (perc)—as a “likely human carcinogen,” but the agency does not believe that wearing clothing dry-cleaned with perc poses a health risk.
EPA issued its final health assessment to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database, which describes health effects that may result from exposure to various substances. The assessment provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to perc over a lifetime.
The agency has already taken several significant actions to reduce exposure to perc. It has clean air standards for dry cleaners that use perc, including requirements that will phase-out the chemical’s use in residential buildings by Dec. 21, 2020.
EPA also set limits for the amount of perc allowed in drinking water, and levels for cleaning up perc at Superfund sites throughout the country, which will be updated in light of the IRIS assessment.