Tetrachlorethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene, perchloroethylene, PCE, or “perc,” is a commonly used solvent (a substance, usually a liquid, capable of dissolving another substance). It has been in commercial use since the early 1900s:
When animals breathed high levels of trans-1,2-dichloroethene for short or longer periods of time, their livers and lungs were damaged and the effects were more severe with longer exposure times. Animals that breathed very high levels of trans-1,2-dichloroethene had damaged hearts.
Breathing large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause impaired heart function, unconsciousness, and death. Breathing it for long periods may cause nerve, kidney, and liver damage.