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Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is a volatile solvent with important commercial applications. It has been detected in the ambient air of a variety of urban and nonurban areas of the United States. It has less frequently been detected in water but has been monitored generally at levels of 1 ppb or less. The lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level, based on central nervous system dysfunction, is about 100 ppm. Toxicity testing in experimental aminals, coupled with limited human data, suggests that long term exposure of humans to ambient levels of PCE is not likely to represent a health concern. At the current time, the teratogenic potential of PCE for humans is unknown; the mammalian animal tests performed to date do not indicate any significant teratogenic potential. Although PCE epoxide has been found to be positive with respect to mutagenicity in bacterial systems, the data on pure PCE suggest that if it is mutagenic, it is a weak mutagen. PCE has been demonstrated to induce malignant tumors of the liver in mice.
Benignus, V., C. Chen, H. Gibb, M. Greenberg, AND C. Hiremath. Health Assessment Document for Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene) (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-82/005F (NTIS PB85249704).