Tougher standards lie ahead for dry cleaning fluid PERC


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) likely will be tightening standards for a solvent widely used in the dry cleaning industry following the release Friday of a final agency assessment that characterizes PERC as a “likely human carcinogen.” 

The assessment provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to Perchloroethlene (PERC) over a lifetime.

While the EPA said it does not believe that wearing clothes dry cleaned with PERC will result in exposures which pose a risk of concern, the agency already is requiring that use of the solvent be phased-out dry cleaners in residential buildings by December 21, 2020. 

The solvent is used by about 85% of U.S. dry cleaners. It also is used as a metal degreaser and in the production of many other chemicals.

Areas where the assessment could lead to tighter regulation include:


National Academy of Sciences backs EPA findings 

In 2008, the EPA suggested that PERC be classified as a "likely human carcinogen." Moreover, it found that PERC's most dangerous noncancer toxicity is brain and nervous system damage -- and set safe exposure levels well below levels that cause such damage.

But rather than finalize the ruling, which was criticized by chemical industry manufacturers, the EPA asked the respected National Academy of Sciences to review it's PERC risk analysis and to tell the EPA if it's system for analyzing chemical risk was correct.

Now the expert panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences says the EPA was basically correct. The panel agreed that:


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Related:

EPA Releases Final Health Assessment for Tetrachloroethylene

National Academy of Sciences Panel Agrees With EPA Analysis of the Risks of PERC

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