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Regulatory Context

Perchloroethylene (PCE) 

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate PCE.

The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for PCE is 100 ppm for an 8 hour day (time weighted average) with a maximum exposure level (ceiling) of 200 ppm, except that an exposure of 300 ppm (peak) is allowed for 5 minutes in any 3 hour period.

The US EPA regulates PCE in a number of ways:


  • Clean Air Act National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Organic Solvent Degreasing:
  • This NESHAP sets two standards. The MACT-based equipment and work practice compliance standard requires a facility to use a designated type of pollution prevention technology along with proper operating procedures. Existing operations that use a performance-based standard can continue to do so if they can achieve the same level of control as the equipment and work practice compliance standard.
  • Urban Air Toxics Strategy: PCE is identified as one of 33 HAPs that present the greatest threat to public health in urban areas and are therefore regulated.
  • Air Toxics Standards for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaners
  • On July 13, 2006, the EPA strengthened the air toxics requirements for dry cleaners using PCE. The rule includes a phase-out of PCE used at dry cleaners located in residential buildings, along with requirements that will reduce PCE emissions at other dry cleaning facilities.
  • Clean Water Act
  • Effluent Guidelines: Listed as a Toxic Pollutant for several industry categories
  • Water Quality Criteria: Based on fish/shellfish and water consumption = 0.69 µg/L; based on fish/shellfish consumption only = 3.3 µg/L
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Reportable Quantity (RQ) = 100 lb
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act Toxics Release Inventory: Listed substance subject to reporting requirements
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Listed Hazardous Waste: Waste codes in which listing is based wholly or partly on substance - U210, F001, F002, F024, F025, K019, K020, K073, K116, K150, K151
  • Characteristic Toxic Hazardous Waste: TCLP Threshold = 0.7 mg/L
  • Listed as a Hazardous Constituent of Waste
  • Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) = 0.005 mg/L


The US FDA regulates PCE. Its maximum permissible level in bottled water is 0.005 mg.

(For section references, see endnote #3)