Perchloroethylene

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Perchloroethylene Safety and Detection information 

Overview:

Other Names: PERC, PCE, perchlorethylene, tetrachloroethylene, tetrachlorethylene
Chemical Formula:   C 2 Cl 4
CAS Number: 127-18-4
Industry Uses: Dry Cleaning, Metal Degreasing, Chemical Manufacturing
Health Risks: Carcinogen, Irritant, Adverse nervous system reactions
Vapor Pressure: 14 mm Hg at 20o C
Water Solubility: Insoluble
Flammable: Non-Flammable
Odor: Sweet Smell
Regulations: EPA and OSHA
MSDS: Perchloroethylene MSDS (.pdf)

 

What is Perchloroethylene?

Perchloroethylene (PERC) is a clear, colorless liquid with a distinctive, sweet odor.  Because it is most commonly used in the dry cleaning industry, it is often referred to as dry-cleaning solution.  In addition to dry-cleaning, PERC is also used in the textile industry, metal degreasing, and in the production of other chemical products.  It is not a flammable risk during storage or use, but it can pose a risk to users and the environment if proper precautions are not observed. 

Health Risks

Short term exposure to PERC can have affect nervous system, as well as irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat.  Symptoms include irritation, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and sweating - with loss of coordination and unconsciousness occurring in extreme cases. 

Extended, ongoing exposure to PERC can cause liver and kidney damage, as well as memory loss and confusion.  Studies have shown that it can also cause cancer in humans and animals. 

Regulations

EPA:

Perchloroethylene that escapes into ambient air can survive in the environment for many days - leading to easily measurable levels of PERC in the outdoor air of most major cities.  For this reason, and due to the environmental impact that PERC can cause, the EPA has strict regulations on its use in industry - with specific attention paid to dry cleaners. 

It is the responsibility of dry cleaners to measure the concentration of PERC in the dry cleaning machine's drum weekly - this is to be done at the end of a dry cleaning cycle with a PERC monitor and concentrations must be equal to or less than 300 ppm by volume.  For this measurement, the sample tube of the monitor needs to be placed in the open airspace at the rear of the dry cleaning machine's drum, above the articles that were cleaned.  This is to be done immediately when the cycle is complete and upon opening the door of the machine. 

It is also the responsibility of the dry cleaner to inspect the machine weekly, while running, for any perceptible leaks of PERC into the air.  For this inspection, the sample tube of the PERC monitor must be placed next to any joint (doors, lids, etc) where leaks may occur - then the sampling tube needs to be run along the entirety of that joint to ensure there is no leakage.  Any leaks that are found must be fixed within the timeline laid out in the EPA regulations.

Link to the EPA's Perchloroethylene page here.

OSHA (and similar organizations):

Since employee health is also affected by exposure to Perchloroethylene, OSHA has set mandatory permissible exposure limits as laid out below. 

Worker Exposure Limits for Perchloroethylene (Tetrachloroethylene)

 

Organization

8-hour time-weighted

average (TWA)

Other Limits

OSHA

(mandatory)

Permissible Exposure

Limit (PEL): 100 ppm

Ceiling: 200 ppm (for 5 min in any 3-hr period),

with a maximum peak of 300 ppm.

ACGIH

(voluntary)

Threshold Limit Value

(TLV):  25 ppm

Short-term Exposure Limit (STEL): 100 ppm

(15 min. TWA)

NIOSH

Potential Occupational Carcinogen;

Minimize workplace exposure

 

Further information from OSHA can be found here:  OSHA Perchloroethylene (PERC) in Dry Cleaning (.pdf)

Tips for Monitoring

  • In most cases, stationary sensor placement should be between waist and chest height (~4 ft)
  • Don't rely on your nose for safety - olfactory fatigue can be deceiving.
  • Check all possible leak points weekly (dry cleaners).
  • Check response and calibration regularly (according to manufacturer's spec's) - keep a maintenance schedule for each device.

 

Downloads:

Tech specs on Aeroqual Perc Sensor

MSDS for Perchloroethylene

Perchloroethylene sensor with Series-200 monitor

Perchloroethylene sensor with Series-300, 500 monitor

OSHA and Perchloroethylene regulations

EU Perchloroethyele regulations

 

Contact us for help choosing the right Perchloroethylene Sensor for your application

View our portable Perc Monitors HERE

View our fixed mount Perc Monitors HERE

 

Our full line of Perchloroethylene monitoring solutions are shown below

Series-200 Monitor

The Series-200 Monitor Perchloroethylene head offers a range of 0-200 ppm using a Gas Sensitive Electrochemical technology (GSE).

The Series-200 can be configured with a variety of other gas detecting heads to provide you with additional flexibility.

The Series-200 boasts:

  • audible alarm
  • min/max/avg recording
Aeroqual Series 200 with Sensor Head

Series-900 Controller

The Series-900 Controller Perchloroethylene head offers a range of 0-200 ppm using a Gas Sensitive Electrochemical technology (GSE).

The Series-900 can be configured with a variety of other gas detecting heads to provide you with additional flexibility.

The Series-900 boasts:

  • Versatile controller with 4-20mA output and RS-485 output
  • 2 alarm relays and 2 control relays that are user settable

Series-300 Monitor

The Series-300 Monitor Perchloroethylene head offers a range of 0-200 ppm using a Gas Sensitive Electrochemical technology (GSE).

The Series-300 can be configured with a variety of other gas detecting heads to provide you with additional flexibility.

The Series-300 boasts:

  • audible alarm
  • min/max/avg recording
  • internal relays for external control of devices or alarms

Aeroqual Series 200 with Sensor Head

Series-500 Monitor

The Series-500 Monitor Perchloroethylene head offers a range of 0-200 ppm using a Gas Sensitive Electrochemical technology (GSE).

The Series-500 can be configured with a variety of other gas detecting heads to provide you with additional flexibility.

The Series-500 boasts:

  • audible alarm
  • min/max/avg recording
  • internal relays for external control of devices or alarms
  • Integrated data logging with industry leading desktop software

 

Contact us for help choosing the right Perchloroethylene Sensor for your application