Perchloroethylene is a volatile organic chemical that can cause serious health hazards. Dry-cleaning workers who routinely breathe the solvent’s vapors or spill it on their skin are at risk of developing health problems, including skin, liver, and kidney damage, and possibly cancer. The inhalation of the chemical has been shown to cause numerous health effects such as dizziness, loss of coordination, memory loss, and blistering of skin.

1940. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO PERCHLOROETHYLENE

Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 USC 801 is undetermined.

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.1000

Abstract: OSHA intends to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to address the hazards associated with occupational exposure to perchloroethylene (also called “tetrachloroethylene”), (CAS 127-18-4). OSHA’s limits for this substance are 100 ppm as an 8- hour TWA; 200 ppm as a 15-minute ceiling; and 300 ppm as a 5-minute peak not to be exceeded in any 3-hour period (29 CFR 1910.1000). These limits have been in place for nearly 30 years and are widely recognized as being inadequately protective. NIOSH classifies perchloroethylene as an occupational carcinogen.

Workers exposed to perchloroethylene may experience sensory irritation, narcosis, liver damage, and cancer. The ANPR will solicit information from interested parties on the risk, current exposure levels, current industry control practices, and feasible means of achieving reductions in existing exposure levels among workers in perchloroethylene-using industries.

Perchloroethylene Exposure Lawsuits

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