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Perchloroethylene (Perc)


Able to dissolve most organic materials, perchloroethylene (PCE) is the most widely used dry cleaning solvent in Massachusetts and nationally. It is also used are as a metal degreaser and a chemical intermediate, among other uses. PCE is reported to be the chemical most widely found in groundwater contamination at Superfund sites.

Perchloroethylene is designated as a Higher Hazard Substance under TURA, which lowers the reporting threshold to 1,000lb/year, effective January 2009.

Information about Perchloroethylene prepared by the TURA Program

Content Category Publication Type Title Year Description
Overview Fact Sheet Perchloroethylene Fact Sheet 2007 TURI Chemical Fact Sheets describe the hazards, exposure routes, uses and alternatives, and regulatory context for selected chemicals.
Alternatives Assessment Fact Sheet Alternatives to Perchloroethylene used in Professional Garment Care   This fact sheet was developed by TURI to help Massachusetts professional garment care shop owners and their communities identify safer alternatives to perc for their dry cleaning operations.
Policy Analysis Policy Analysis Perchloroethylene Policy Analysis 2008 TURA Policy Analyses are developed as background for state-level decision-making about individual chemicals, chemical classes, and industry sectors.
Alternatives Assessment Policy Analysis Assessment of Alternatives to Perchloroethylene for the Dry Cleaning Industry 2012 TURI conducted an alternatives assessment of seven common alternatives to perc to help dry cleaners find technically viable and environmentally preferred methods for cleaning clothes. The alternatives evaluated include: Professional Wet Cleaning, Liquid Carbon Dioxide, High Flash Hydrocarbons, Acetal, Propylene Glycol Ethers, Cyclic Volatile Methyl Siloxane, and N-Propyl Bromide (nPB).
Wet Cleaning Case Study Journal Article: European Environment Agency

Wet Cleaning Technology Eliminates PCE Use in Dry Cleaning


2013 A case study that demonstrates the cost savings in electricity, natural gas, and water for a dry cleaner who switched from using perc to wet cleaning.
Wet Cleaning Case Study Journal Article: Journal of Cleaner Production A Feasibility and Cost Comparison of Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning to Professional Wet Cleaning 2011 A feasibility and cost comparison of perchloroethylene dry cleaning to professional wet cleaning: case study of Silver Hanger Cleaners, Bellingham, Massachusetts
Wet Cleaning Case Study Case Study Best Neighborhood Care Dry Cleaners - Cost Analysis of a Professional Wet Cleaning Shop 2012 12 months of data from Best Neighborhood on its capital costs, performance, resource use, and operational costs as a dedicated professional wet cleaner.
Wet Cleaning Case Study Case Study Mr. John's Cleaners - Saves Money, Reduces Toxics, Conserves Energy 2011 Owner of Mr. John's, Ernie Barbato, has been an innovator in finding ways to save money and make his business more efficient. This case study details the improvements that are saving his business money and provides advice for other small business owners.
Wet Cleaning Case Study Case Study Ace Cleaners - Eliminating the Use of Toxic Chemicals in Dry Cleaning 2011 The analysis of two years of data is presented here, including capital costs, performance data and associated costs, operational costs, and resource use and associated costs. 
Wet Cleaning Case Study Case Study Silver Hanger Cleaners - Feasibility and Cost Comparison of Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning to Professional Wet Cleaning 2010 Two years of data have been collected from this facility, reflecting one year of solvent use and one year of dedicated professional wet cleaning. 
Alternatives Assessment Methods and Policy Report Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study 2006 Methods and Policy Reports provide information on methodologies and policy approaches for toxics use reduction. They include TURA program evaluations; analyses of the TURA data; chemical alternatives assessments; decision-making guidance; and studies of the public health implications of toxics use reduction.


Information from other resources

Source Title Year Description
Federal resources      
OSHA Reducing Worker Exposure to Perchloroethylene in Dry Cleaning 2005 This document has been prepared by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to help dry cleaning establishments reduce employee exposures to perchloroethylene.
State resources      
Minnesota Department of Health Perc in Air 2016 Perc in air
Minnesota Department of Health Perc and Drinking Water 2014 Perc and drinking water
New Jersey Department of Health Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet 2011 Overview of Workplace Exposures to Perchloroethylene
New York Department of Health Fact Sheet 2013 This fact sheet provides information on health effects seen in humans exposed to perc in air.
New York Pollution Prevention Institute Professional Wet Cleaning Implementation Guide 2013 This guide is meant to provide a basic understanding of wet cleaning and considerations to encourage conversation between cleaners and vendors.