Final health assessment for tetrachloroethylene released by EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the final health assessment for tetrachloroethylene (perc) to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database.

Perc is most often used in the dry cleaning industry, but is also often found in the cleaning of metal machinery and can be used by factory workers to manufacture consumer goods and other chemicals. The assessment confirms what has long been thought - that perc is a "likely human carcinogen."

"The perc health assessment released today will provide valuable information to help protect people and communities from exposure to perc in soil, water and air," said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, in a statement on February 10, 2012. "This assessment emphasizes the value of the IRIS database in providing strong science to support government officials as they make decisions to protect the health of the American people."

The health assessment includes information on the cancerous effects of perc for the first time and replaces the 1988 IRIS assessment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers who may be exposed to perc be equipped with the appropriate safety products to reduce the risk of its adverse health effects.

Personal protective equipment, including aprons, work gloves, and goggles should be worn, while respirators with organic vapors cartridges must be used when elevated perc exposures are anticipated. 

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