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.

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 Perchloroethylene please refer to the respective Health Profile and Product Safety Summary Document (Publication). 

A generic label for perchloroethylene packaging are available here, which include up to date pictograms and hazard phrases, in accordance with CLP 1272/2008 EC. This includes all EU languages.


Montreal Protocol Meeting - ECSA & HSIA side event

November 2017

DCM & the ozone layer
24 November 2017 – 13hrs – Montréal

During this side event, we will provide you with scientific facts and figures on the worldwide production, emissions of the VSLS Dichloromethane (DCM) and its negligible contribution to ozone depletion.
We will consider the following criteria: global production by industry and emissions, global natural production, behavior and effect on the atmosphere, regulatory overview for DCM. The full paper is available here. A one-pager summary is also available.
More information

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). 


UBA PMT criteria published

February 2018

The German Environment Agency (UBA, Umweltbundesamt) has published the assessment of "Persistence, Mobility and Toxicity (PMT)" with the desire to protect drinking water sources. Applying conservative criteria for PMT as defined by UBA, perchloroethylene (PER) and trichloroethylene (TRI) appear as number 2 and 3 on the report. UBA also aims to establish PMT as an equivalent concern to identify SVHC substance for authorisation under REACH. ECSA does not consider SVHC identification using PMT criteria as the appropriate tool to improve drinking water quality due to this being a pure hazard based approach and thus does not consider risk. TRI is already listed in Annex XIV (authorisation) and today PER is handled almost exclusively in closed systems with no intentional emission to water or soil. For further information see the ECSA position paper on PER here.

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.