Department of Environmental Conservation

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Washy Wanda (Pollutant: Perchloroethylene) Air Villain

Perchloroethylene (C2Cl4)

Air Villain: Washy Wanda

Status: At Large

Description: (Compound) also know as tetrachloroethylene, "perc" is a manufactured chemical that is a clear, non-flammable liquid at room temperature. It easily evaporates into the air and has a sharp, sweet odor.

Crime: Perc enters your body when you breath its vapors in the air. High concentrations of perc can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or skin and effects on the nervous system similar to alcohol intoxication. It is also suspected to cause liver and kidney damage, cancer, and harm to the unborn and young children, as well as contaminate ground water. Very high levels can cause unconsciousness or even death.

Cause: Perc is used for dry cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing. Small amounts of perc are on clothes you bring home from the dry cleaners. Living close to a dry cleaners may also expose you to perc in the air or ground water.