Perc was one of 10 chemicals EPA chose for review in December 2016. Being on the
not mean EPA intends to ban perc or even further regulate it. However, it opens
the door to
further consideration. Publication of the document on April 27 began a 60-day
period in which
the agency will receive comments that could lead to further rulemaking.
In its draft risk evaluation, EPA reviewed several commercial and consumer uses
perchloroethylene and made preliminary findings on whether using it can cause
risks to human health or the environment.
“The risks found in the draft risk evaluation, including those associated with
this chemical’s use
in drycleaning, are preliminary and do not require any action at this time,” EPA said. However,
EPA said, the risks may change based on comments received from the public and
The draft risk evaluation and the initial risk determinations are not a final
action and represent
the agency’s preliminary conclusions, findings, and determinations on perchloroethylene.
draft risk evaluation includes input from other EPA offices as well as other
EPA’s draft risk evaluation preliminarily found unreasonable risk to workers, occupational non-
users, consumers, bystanders, and the environment from certain uses. The primary health risk in
the draft risk evaluation is neurological effects from short- and long-term
exposure to the
chemical. Some possible risk to consumers from perc’s use in drycleaning would be from skin
exposure to items cleaned with perchloroethylene.
The agency also found environmental risks to aquatic organisms.
The agency noted that the use of perc in drycleaning has been decreasing as
facilities shift to
new technologies and other solvents. EPA believes about 60 percent of
drycleaning facilities use
perc now, down from more than 80 percent in the early 1990s.
Nearly 65 percent of the production volume of perc is used as an intermediate in
manufacturing, fluorinated compounds, such as hydrofluorocarbons and
hydrochlorofluorocarbons alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons and HCFCs, which
depleting, EPA noted. Drycleaning accounts for the second highest usage of perc
in the U.S. at
about 15 percent, EPA said.
EPA was planning a virtual peer review meeting of the Science Advisory Committee
Chemicals (SACC) on the draft risk evaluation in late May.