Toxic substances list: tetrachloroethylene

According to the 1993 Priority Substances List Assessment Report, tetrachloroethylene was no longer produced in Canada but continued to be imported, primarily for use as a chemical feedstock and as a solvent in the dry-cleaning and metal-cleaning industries. Approximately six and a half kilotonnes was imported in 1990. Feedstock use results its transformation to another chemical, with minor releases during this process. Solvent uses were dispersive and did not result in its transformation or destruction and tetrachloroethylene was expected to enter the environment, primarily the atmosphere. Tetrachloroethylene had been measured in outdoor air and in the air inside homes within Canada, and detected in drinking water across the country and in contaminated surface waters in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The substance was present in groundwaters in several provinces, often as a result of its inappropriate disposal and release from dry-cleaning and degreasing facilities or landfills.

Synonyms include: 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethylene, tetrachloroethene, ethylene tetrachloride, carbon dichloride, carbon bichloride and perchloroethylene.

CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) registry number: 127-18-4

Risk assessment


This substance was identified to enter the environment from the following sources:

Strategic options report

Strategic Options Reports present the outcome of stakeholder consultations and set out recommended options for managing the life cycle risk associated with releases of tetrachloroethylene to the environment. The following reports are available on request:

Please contact to request a copy of either report. 

Risk management tools

Tools developed to manage risks associated with the substance:

Other information


Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-800-567-1999  (in Canada) or 819-938-3232

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