WASHINGTON — When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the final health assessment for tetrachloroethylene—also known as perchloroethylene, or perc—to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database in February, it deemed the chemical to be a “likely human carcinogen.”
The assessment replaces the 1988 IRIS assessment for perc and for the first time includes a hazard characterization for cancer effects. The assessment underwent several levels of rigorous, independent peer review including: agency review, interagency review, public comment, and external peer review by the National Research Council, according to the EPA, and all major review comments were addressed.
The Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance says 70% of U.S. commercial dry cleaners use perc; EPA estimates the total number to be 27,000. So what does this development mean for the future of the industry’s preferred solvent?