An important distinction to make is the difference between tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene (PERC), and perchlorate. PERC is the solvent used by about 70% of dry cleaners in the United States, but is also used as a metal degreaser and in the production of many other chemicals. If ingested, PERC can adversely affect human health, and EPA has determined that it is a “likely human carcinogen.”
Importantly, PERC is not the same chemical as perchlorate, which is a different chemical used as an additive to products such as solid rocket fuel and fireworks, and also has medical and agricultural uses. For more about perchlorate, please visit our Perchlorate Basics page.