Can I Use TCE (Trichloroethylene or Trike) In My Cleaning System?

It is no longer recommended to use trichloroethylene, also called TCE or trike, CAS #79-01-6. While trike was widely used in the 1950-70s, it is an old-style chlorinated solvent that generally should be avoided in today’s environment. The main advantages of trike is that it is cheap, widely available and cleans very well. However, it is a proven carcinogen, which creates all sorts of long-term liabilities for companies that use it. There are newer, better, safer alternatives for you to select.

Specifically, in 2011 the E.P.A. wrote:

“Based on the available human epidemiologic data and experimental and mechanistic studies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that TCE poses a potential health hazard to the human central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, male reproductive system, and to a developing fetus. TCE is characterized as carcinogenic in humans by all routes of exposure for kidney cancer. There also is human evidence of carcinogenicity for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, more limited evidence for liver and biliary tract cancer, and some evidence is found for bladder, esophageal, prostate, cervical, breast, and childhood leukemia, and breast cancers.”

The Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for Trike has been under review for some time. The U.S. Dept. of Labor still posts it to be 100 ppm TWA; with a 5-minute maximum exposure of not more than 300 ppm (peak), for a single time period up to 5 minutes in any 2 hours. However, the ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) has set a proposed Threshold Limit Value of 10 ppm. That’s getting pretty low and requires strict controls to keep workers safe.

See more at: “TOXICOLOGICAL REVIEW OF TRICHLOROETHYLENE (CAS No. 79-01-6)” by the U.S. EPA/635/R-09/011F September 2011; following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment.