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.


TRI Authorisations granted

September 2018

Trichloroethylene (TRI) can be used safely under controlled conditions. Five authorisations have been granted to BlueCube Germany (a subsidiary of Olin) to continue to produce TRI for specific uses, for example Industrial Parts Cleaning. Customers of this producer can use TRI for these applications under the conditions set by the EU Commission and the defined risk management measures.


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 Dichloromethane

February 2018

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for Dichloromethane (DCM). The study results have been published end of 2018. The outcome of the study shows that below the threshold there is no risk of cancer formation related to DCM.

The full paper is available here.


DCM & the Ozone Layer

November 2017 

Dichloromethane (DCM) is a highly Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) with a short atmospheric lifetime of only 0.4 years, hence defined as a Very Short Lived Substance (VSLS), but a negligible Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). Recent publications (e.g. Hossaini et al.) discussed the effect of DCM on the stratospheric ozone, which postulated a high future growth rate of global DCM production and emissions, which led to discussions to include DCM into the Montreal Protocol on the protection of the ozone layer. ECSA and HSIA have provided factual information on global production and emissions by industry, global natural production, behaviour and effect on the stratospheric ozone, and other regulatory developments at a UNEP meeting on the Montreal Protocol in Nov 2017 (available here), based on a scientific assessment of Archie McCulloch (full paper available here; a one-pager summary is also available here).