What Is Perchloroethylene?


Quick Answer

Perchloroethylene, also know by tetrachloroethylene, tetrachloroethene and a few other names, is a chlorofluorocarbon with the formula Cl?C=CCl?. It is a colorless, nonflammable liquid that does not occur naturally.

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Full Answer

Perchloroethylene is produced in large amounts by three companies in the United States. These three companies alone produced 301 million pounds of perchloroethylene in 1991. The largest producer of perchloroethylene in the United States is the dry cleaning industry. Perchloroethylene evaporates when exposed to air. Effects on human health from breathing perchloroethylene for short periods of time range from dizziness, fatigue, headaches and sweating to lack of coordination and unconsciousness. Breathing perchloroethylene over longer periods of time can cause liver and kidney damage.

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