FACT SHEET ON A DRINKING WATER CHEMICAL CONTAMINANT
GENERAL INFORMATION
Synonym*:
•	PCE; Perchioroethyiene; Perc;
1,1,2.2-Tetrachloroethylene
Chemical Description:
•	Chlorinated hydrocarbon with no natural
sources
Properties:
•	Colorless, nonflammable liquid which is heavier
than water and has a chloroform-like odor
•	High vapor pressure
•	Slightly soluble in water
Production and Use:
•	Used mainly as a solvent n the dry cleaning
industry and to a lesser extent as a solvent to
degrease metals
•	Also used in textile industry and as an inter-
mediate in the synthesis of certain fluoro-
carbons
ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE
Occurrence:
•	Common contaminant in ground and surface
waters, with higher levels found in ground
wafer, and also present in air
Releases:
•	Most releases are to the atmosphere due to its
volatile nature
•	frequently disposed of in the forms of solid and
liquid wastes, often directly to land and
surface wafer
Environmental fate:
•	Released fo soil: will evaporate fairly rapidly to
the atmosphere; highly mobile in soil (low
adsarbtion fo soil) and readily migrates fo
ground water may biodegrade slowly to
trichloroethylene, dichloroethytene. and vinyl
chloride in anaerobic soils with acclimated
organisms
•	Released to surface water: wtii evaoca'e
rapidly.to the atmosphere (primary removal
mechanism); chemical and biological
degradation expected to be very slow: not
expected to bioconcentrate in aquatic
organisms or adsorb to sediment; in grouna
water, expected fo persist for months or years,
•	Released to air: expected to exist m the
vapor phase where it will degrade: has been
detected in rain
HEALTH EFFECTS
Humans:
•	Liver, kidney, and central nervous syfem (CMS)
effects have been observed in humans
occupationaily exposed fo tetrachloroefhylene
Experimental Animals:
» Both short-term and long-term exposures show
detrimental effects fo the liver, kidney and
cm
•	Teratogenic and mutagenic effects nave not
been clearly demonstrated
« High carcinogenic potential
REGULATORY PROFILE
Existing Standards:
•Clean Air Act (CAA): Not regulated
•Clean Water Act CWA):
Criteria established
•Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
(RCRA):
Hazardous waste
•Superfund (CERCLA):
• Hazardous substance
•SARA: Toxic chemical
•Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodenticlde Act (FIFRA):
Registered
•Toxic Substances Control Act ffSCA):
Regulated

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HEALTH INFORMATION
Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG):
•	Non-enforceable levels based solely on an
evaluation of possible health risks and
exposure, and faking into consideration a
margin for public safety
•	Set at zero mg/t to protect against cancer
MCI© for Tetrachlorethylene = Zero mg/l
{effective July Iff2)
Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL):
•	legally enforceable levels for contaminants in
public drinking water supplies
•	Based on health risks associated with the
contaminants, analytical methods for their
assay, and water treatment feasibility and
practicality aspects
•	Exceedance of the MCt in drinking water may
result in adverse effects which will depend
upon the contaminant concentration in wafer,
amount of water/contaminant ingested,
length of exposure, and other biological
parameters
MCL for Tetrachloroethylene s 0.005 mg/L
(effective July 1992)
EPA Health Advisories (HA):
•	Short-term HA*: Provide acceptable
concentrations of contaminants in water for
up to 10 day exposures, primarily to evaluate
the public health risk resulting from an
accidental spill or an emergency
contamination situation
•	l.ong®r-t®rm HAs: Provide guidance for
persistent water contamination situations to
cover a period of up to 7 years
•	Lifetime HAs: Derived in th© same way as an
MClG
Health Advisories:
Short-term HA for a child = 2.0 mg/L
Longer-term HA for a child = 1.4 mg/L
Longer-term HA for an adult = 5.0 mg/L
Ufeftme HA = Not recommended
•	Purge and Trap Column Gas Chromatography
with Photoionization and ElectrcyT'C
Conductivity Detectors m Senes:
EPA Method 502.2
•	Purged Column Gas Chromatography/Mass
Spectrometry:
EPA Method 524 1
•	Capillary Column Gas Chromatography/ Mass
Spectrometry:
EPA Method 524,2
WATER TREATMENT
Permanent Treatment:
•	Best Available Technology (BAT):
• Granular Activated Carbon
» Packed Tower Aeration
SHORT-TERM HAZARD ELIMINATION
•	If the drinking water standards are exceeded,
install BAT or use an alternative drinking water
supply such as bottled water
ADDITIONAL HELP
•	State or county health officials can indicate a
certified laboratory for testing
•	Experts in the state Department of
Environmental Protection or Natural Resources
may also be of help
» The EPA has toll-free numbers for further
information on drinking water qualify,
treatment technologies, for obtaining Health
Advisories, and for other regulatory information
•	EPA Hotlines are available Monday through
Friday
•Safe Drinking Water.	800-426-4791
•National Pesticides:	800-858-7378
•Superfund/RCRA:	800-424-9346
•	For information on the Clean Wafer Act. call
(202) 260-7301
•	For information on the Toxic Substances
Control Act, call (202) 554-1404
•	For information on the Clean Air Act, call
(919) 541-2777
ANALYTICAL METHODS
• Purge and Trap Gas Chromatography:
EPA Method 502.1
EPA Method 503.1

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