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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Perchloroethylene; Tetrachloroethene; Carbon bichloride; 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethylene; 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethene

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 2020
(IMIS Name History: Tetrachloroethylene prior to 9/1/89; Perchloroethylene from 9/1/98 through 6/23/04; currently Tetrachoroethylene).

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 127-18-4

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: KX3850000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1897 160

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Tetrachloroethylene: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Tetrachloroethylene: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit

Limit Values

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-2  

100 ppm
TWA

200 ppm
Ceiling

300 ppm (peak) for a single time period up to 5 minutes for any 3 hours

HE7

Central nervous system depression with dizziness and muscular incoordination

HE16

Eye and skin irritation upon contact

HE3

Liver and kidney damage

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

100 ppm
(670 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Central nervous system depression with dizziness and muscular incoordination

HE16

Eye and skin irritation upon contact

HE3

Liver and kidney damage

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

100 ppm
(670 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Central nervous system depression causing dizziness and muscular incoordination

HE16

Eye and skin irritation upon contact

HE3

Liver and kidney damage

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
See Appendix A

Not established (lowest feasible concentration)

Ca

HE7

Central nervous system depression with weakness, confusion, headache, dizziness, and drowsiness

HE16

Eye, nose, and throat irritation; flushing of face and neck

HE3

Liver damage shown by jaundice several weeks later

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001)

25 ppm
(170 mg/m3) TWA

100 ppm
(685 mg/m3) STEL

A3; BEI

HE3

Liver injury

HE7

Central nervous system depression with headache, dizziness, sleepiness, incoordination

HE16

Eye irritation

CAL/OSHA PELs

25 ppm
(170 mg/m3) TWA

300 ppm
Ceiling

100 ppm
(685 mg/m3)

HE3

Liver injury

HE7

Central nervous system depression with headache, dizziness, sleepiness, incoordination

HE16

Eye irritation

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen [150 KB PDF, 3 pages]

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 2A [4 MB PDF, 63 pages] (probably carcinogenic to humans)

EPA carcinogenic classification: Likely to be carcinogenic to humans

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 4x10-2 mg/m3

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): 0.2 ppm (acute); 0.04 ppm (chronic)

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 150 ppm

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. Dry-cleaning workers are occupationally exposed to tetrachloroethylene and are found to experience excess cancer mortality in some studies (Ruder et al. 2001).
  2. Increased relative risk for bladder cancer was found in dry-cleaning workers in Nordic countries (Lynge et al. 2006).
  3. Exposure can be determined by measuring perchloroethylene in expired air, blood, or urine, or the major metabolite in urine - trichloroacetic acid. (Gobba et al. 2003).
  4. Color-vison impairment may occur from a small exposure to tetrachloroethylene (Gobba et al. 1998).
  5. Strong evidence exists that metabolism of tetrachloroethylene may produce carcinogenic metabolites toxic to the liver and kidneys (Gobba et al. 2003; Lash and Parker 2001).
  6. IARC stated that epidemiological studies noted positive associations between tetrachloroethylene exposure and several cancers, including bladder, oesophagus, kidney, cervix, and NHL; however, there was a consistent pattern across studies only for bladder cancer. Findings from cancer bioassays in mice and toxicity studies in animals have identified several potential genotoxic and non-genotoxic mechanisms of carcinogenesis for tetrachloroethylene in the liver that could operate in people. In rats, tetrachloroethylene induces neoplasms of the haemopoietic system, testes, kidney, and brain. (IARC 2012)
Date Last Revised: 12/11/2012

Literature Basis:
  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Tetrochloroethylene. 2001.
  • ANSI: USA Standard Acceptable Concentrations of Tetrachloroethylene. 1967.
  • EPA IRIS Tetrachloroethylene, 2012
  • IARC, Lancet Oncology, 13:1192-1193, 2011
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene. 1976.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Tetrachloroethylene. 1978.
  • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Tetrachloroethylene. April 13, 2000.
  • Gobba, F., Righi, E., Fantuzzi, G., Roccatto, L., Predieri, G., and Aggazzotti, G.: Perchloroethylene in alveolar air, blood, and urine as biologic indices of low-level exposure. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 45(11): 1152-1157, 2003.
  • Gobba, F., Righi, E., Fantuzzi, G., Predieri, G., Cavazzuti, L. and Aggazzotti, G.: Two-year evolution of perchloroethylene-induced color-vision loss. Arch. Environ. Health 53(3): 196-198, 1998.
  • Lash, L.H. and Parker, J.C.: Hepatic and renal toxicities associated with perchlorethylene. Pharmacol. Rev. 53(2): 177-208, 2001.
  • Lynge E. et al.: Cancer in persons working in dry cleaning in the Nordic countries. Environ Health Perspect. 114(2):213-9, February 2006.
  • Ruder, A.M., Ward, E.M. and Brown, D.P.: Mortality in dry-cleaning workers: an update. Am. J. Ind. Med. 39(2): 121-132, 2001.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    alternative solvent: 99:1 Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    maximum volume: 12 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
    minimum time: >5 Minutes
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (Ceiling)
    minimum time: >1 Minute
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (Peak)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1001)
    method classification: Fully Validated
  • sampling media: Diffusive Sampler (SKC 575-002 Passive Sampler)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    minimum time: ≤ 240 Minutes (TWA)
    minimum time: > 5 Minutes (Ceiling)
    minimum time: ≥ 5 Minutes (Peak)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 1001)
    method classification: Fully Validated

On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: AUER/MSA
    model/type: Per-10, MSA P/N 487337, AUER P/N 5085-840
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 500 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 10 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: AUER/MSA
    model/type: Per-5, MSA P/N 804429, AUER P/N 5085-865
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 200 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Tetrachloroethylene 0.1/a, order no. 81 01551
    sampling information: 3/9 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 4/1 ppm
    detection limit: 0.5/0.2 ppm
    overall uncertainty: approximately 33%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Tetrachloroethylene 2/a, order no. 81 01501
    sampling information: 1/5 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 300/40 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 20/2 ppm
    overall uncertainty: approximately 25%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Tetrachloroethylene 10/b, order no. CH 30701
    sampling information: 3 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 500 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: approximately 25%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 133HA
    sampling information: 4 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 50 ppm
    detection limit: 0.05 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16% for 0.2 to 10 ppm, 8% for 10 to 50 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 172
    sampling information: 0.5 to 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 900 ppm
    detection limit: 0.5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16% for 20 to 100 ppm, 8% for 100 to 300 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 133M
    sampling information: 0.5 to 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 250 ppm
    detection limit: 0.4 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16% for 5 to 20 ppm, 8% for 20 to 100 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 133L
    sampling information: 0.5 to 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 75 ppm
    detection limit: 0.4 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16% for 2 to 5 ppm, 8% for 5 to 25 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 133LL
    sampling information: 0.5 to 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 9 ppm
    detection limit: 0.05 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 16% for 0.2 to 1 ppm, 8% for 1 to 3 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube (diffusion-type)
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 133D
    sampling information: 1 to 8 hours
    upper measurement limit: 150 ppm
    detection limit: 3 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 25% for 25 to 50 ppm-h, 16% for 50 to 150 ppm-h
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-135SA
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 300 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-243U
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 160 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-135SB
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 10 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 1 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-135SH
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 2%
    detection limit: approximately 0.05%
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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