Perchloroethylene (PER)

Perchloroethylene (PER) is a fully chlorinated C2-hydrocarbon of the formula C2Cl4. PER is used (decreasing order of share):

  1. as starting raw material to produce fluorinated hydrocarbons and fluorinated polymers, other fluorinated derivatives like trifluoroacidic acid and TRI (through reduction).
  2. as solvent mainly for professional dry cleaning, in industrial textile treatment and for surface (mainly metal) cleaning.
  3. as reactant for catalyst regeneration in the petrol industry.

© © PER is a clear non-flammable liquid with a 121°C boiling point, has good chemical stability, is non-miscible with water and has the lowest evaporation energy amongst the chlorinated solvents (nearly 11 times lower than water). This makes PER very well-suited for vapor phase cleaning and recycling through equipment internal distillation and constant re-use in closed loop systems at high quality levels.

The use of closed systems is being strongly recommended by ECSA and is becoming Industry Standard.

PER provides good solubility for oils, greases and resins. In addition, its higher boiling point makes it a 

particularly good cleaning agent to remove waxes and pastes. PER is often the first choice for users looking to replace TRI, because of its close properties.

PER is the solvent of choice for most dry-cleaners. By use of modern closed dry-cleaning machines as recommended by ECSA, the amount needed to clean 1 kg of clothes has very much decreased (by 90% from 110 to 10 g solvent / kg). ECSA is very engaged to increase safe use and sustainability even further. Read here the latest Information Sheet on PER and dry-cleaning. The document is also available in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Portugese.

More chlorinated solvents information? shops with information about legislation and detailed guidance on safe handling with on-line examination and certification possibilities. Follow the link to the E-DryClean project.As partner in a EU Leonardo Da Vinci  project,  ECSA has developed web based training tools for professional dry-cleaning

We have developed an online toolbox to provide users of chlorinated solvents with information about the safe & sustainable use of the products.
Follow the link to the ECSA Product & Application Toolbox, a Guidance on Safe & Sustainable Use of Chlorinated Solvents.

For more information of Methylene Chloride please refer to the respective Health Profile and Product Safety Summary Document (Publication



IOELVs for DCM, CTC and PER published

February 2017

Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) for DCM, CTC and PER have been published by the EU Commission (cf. DIRECTIVE (EU) 2017/164 of 31.1.2017), which are in line with the REACH DNEL(inhalation) for workers. 
These IOELVs have to be considered by member states for setting national exposure limits (OELs), which they have to accomplish by 21. August 2018. Only national OELs are legally binding for occupational safety, whereas the IOELVs have to be considered by users in case no OELs is set, yet.  The relevant OELs are provided with the SDS of the solvents suppliers (cf. chapter 8.1). 


IARC monograph on DCM

January 2017

DCM has been re-classified by IARC (IARC website) from Group 2B (Possibly carcinogenic to humans) to the next higher Group 2A (Probably carcinogenic to humans). This reclassification from 2014 has been published recently (Dichloromethane).In the opinion of ECSA the reclassification is not scientifically justified. IARC Monograph classifications are also questioned by other associations such as the American Chemical Council (ACC). However the IARC classification is of no regulatory relevance in EU as European legislation is triggered by classification according to the CLP (GHS) regulation (EC 1272/2008).  


New Study on DCM

October 2016

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for methylene chloride (DCM). A publication is expected soon in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The outcome of the study shows that below a threshold there is no risk on cancer formation related to DCM.


Use of Perchloroethylene is safe in Germany

October 2016

The German federal authorities published a comprehensive guidance on the safe use of PER in dry-cleaning based on German regulations (2. BImSchV in force since 1990). ECSA supported the English translation of this guidance, which is now available on the website of the LAVG, the federal authority in charge.

The exposure study, as referenced in the guideline, proved that the use of PER is safe, if PER is applied according to regulations such as the 2. BImSchV and exposure is very low, well below the current German OEL.