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U.S. EPA Releases Updated Health Assessment Report on Tetrachloroethylene

On Feb. 10, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database its final health assessment of tetrachloroethylene (PCE and commonly referred to as PERC), a common dry-cleaning and degreasing solvent.  The 2012 IRIS PCE assessment replaces an earlier IRIS assessment of PCE finalized in 1988.  Unlike the 1988 IRIS PCE assessment, the 2012 assessment includes a hazard characterization for the potential cancer effects of PCE exposure.  The final EPA assessment categorizes PCE as a “likely human carcinogen” and provides toxicity values and estimates regarding cancer and non-cancer effects of exposure to PCE over an individual’s lifetime.  The toxicity values provided in the IRIS assessment will likely be considered in several areas including: (1) establishing cleanup levels at PCE-contaminated sites under federal Superfund and state remediation programs; (2) revision of the EPA’s drinking water standards, including the Maximum Contaminant Level, for PCE; and (3) evaluating whether additional limits on PCE emissions are necessary under the Clean Air Act. Additional information regarding the 2012 IRIS PCE assessment is available at the Environmental Protection Agency's website.  

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