Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Tetrachloroethylene
Identification Number: CASRN | 127-18-4

  Substance Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Mutagenic Properties

    Cause mutations to Genetic material like DNA, RNA or mitochondrial DNA

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Toxic to Wildlife

    May kill plants, fish, birds or other animals and insects or may be very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. This then effects delicate environmental ecology and food supply in ways we don't fully understand yet.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Pit Chemicals | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Cigarette Toxin | Household Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Synthetic Toxin | Indirect Additives Used in Food Contact Substances | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Organic Compounds | Organohalogen Compounds | Vinyl Halides | Vinyl Chlorides | Chlorocarbons
  • SYNONYMS: 1,1,2 | 2-Tetrachloroethylene | 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethene | 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethylene | Ankilostin | Antisal 1 | Antisol 1 | Carbon bichloride | Carbon dichloride | Didakene | Dow-per | Ethylene tetrachloride | Fedal-Un | Nema | PCE | Perawin | PERC | Perchlor | Perchlorethylene | Perchlorethylene | per | Perchloroethene | Perchloroethylene | Perclene | Perclene D | Perclene TG | Percloroetilene | Percosolve | PERK | Perklone | PerSec | Tetlen | Tetracap | Tetrachlooretheen | Tetrachlorathen | Tetrachlorethylene | Tetrachloro-Ethene | Tetrachloro-Ethylene | Tetrachloroethene | Tetracloroetene | Tetraguer | Tetraleno | Tetralex | Tetravec | Tetroguer | Tetropil
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Tetrachloroethylene, also known under the systematic name tetrachloroethene, or perchloroethylene ('perc'), and many other names, is a chlorocarbon with the formula Cl2C=CCl2. It is a colorless liquid widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics, hence it is sometimes called 'dry-cleaning fluid.' It has a sweet odor detectable by most people at a concentration of 1 part per million (1 ppm). Worldwide production was about one million metric tons in 1985. Animal studies and a study of 99 twins by Dr. Samuel Goldman and researchers at the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California determined there is a 'lot of circumstantial evidence' that exposure to tetrachloroethene increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease ninefold. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tetrachloroethene as a Group 2A carcinogen, which means that it is probably carcinogenic to humans. Like many chlorinated hydrocarbons, tetrachloroethene is a central nervous system depressant and can enter the body through respiratory or dermal exposure. Tetrachloroethene dissolves fats from the skin, potentially resulting in skin irritation. This reaction can be catalyzed by a mixture of potassium chloride and aluminium chloride or by activated carbon.
  • COMMENTS:

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    Suspected of causing cancer. Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects | Chronic Health Hazard Environmental Hazard | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: C2Cl4
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | CPDB | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | OEHHA | TEDX | EPA in USA | FDA Indirect Food Additives | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Exposure to high concentrations of tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death. Irritation may result from repeated or extended skin contact with it. (L116)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Tetrachloroethylene is a central nervous system depressant. It is also known to cause liver and kidney damage, and is a probably carcinogen. (L116) | Tetrachloroethylene is readily absorbed following inhalation, oral, and dermal exposure. Once tetrachloroethylene is absorbed, its relatively high lipophilicity results in distribution to fatty tissue. Some tetrachloroethylene is metabolized to trichloroacetic acid (TCA) by cytochrome P-450 enzymes and the glutathione-conjugation pathway, then excreted in the urine. The remaining unmetabolized tetrachloroethylene is exhaled. (L116)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Tetrachloroethylene is believed to affect the central nervous system by altering the fatty acid pattern of brain phospholipids and amino acids, or being incorporated into brain membranes, which may alter neural conduction velocity. Tetrachloroethylene's liver toxicity is caused mainly by its metabolite, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which induces hepatocellular peroxisomes, causing DNA damage and leading to liver cancer. It is also thought to interfere specifically with energy-dependent hepatic transport functions by inhibiting cell membrane ATPases and decreasing hepatocyte ATP levels. (L116, A63) | This organochloride inhibits Na+/K+ ATPase and Ca2+ and Mg2+ ATPase, which are essential for the transport of calcium across membranes. This results in the accumulation of intracellular free calcium ions, which promotes release of neurotransmitters from storage vesicles, the subsequent depolarization of adjacent neurons, and the propagation of stimuli throughout the central nervous system. (T10)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Membrane"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Tetrachloroethylene is used for dry cleaning of fabrics and for metal-degreasing. It is also used to make other chemicals and is used in some consumer products, such as paint strippers and spot removers. (L116)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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