Preferred Sample Type

Perchloroethylene (Tetrachloroethene)

Suitable Specimen Types

  • EDTA Whole Blood
2 mL Whole Blood

Specimen Transport

Samples should be sent to the referral laboratory using first class post or courier. Samples should generally be sent the day of collection or the following day

All samples sent to the referral laboratory should be accompanied by a completed request form.

Sample Processing in Laboratory


Sample Preparation

Do not centrifuge.

Sample Stability

Store at 4oC

Perchloroethylene (Tetrachloroethene)

General Information

Perchloroethylene (Tetrachloroethylene) is widely used for dry-cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing operations. The main effects of perchloroethylene in humans are neurological, liver, and kidney effects following acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure. Adverse reproductive effects, such as spontaneous abortions, have been reported from occupational exposure to tetrachloroethylene; however, no definite conclusions can be made because of the limitations of the studies. Results from epidemiological studies of dry-cleaners occupationally exposed to tetrachloroethylene suggest increased risks for several types of cancer. Animal studies have reported an increased incidence of liver cancer in mice, via inhalation and gavage (experimentally placing the chemical in the stomach), and kidney and mononuclear cell leukemia in rats.

In the mid-1980s, EPA considered the epidemiological and animal evidence on perchloroethylene as intermediate between a probable and possible human carcinogen (Group B/C).

Perchloroethylene can be measured in the breath, and breakdown products of perchloroethylene can be measured in the blood and urine.


A whole blood sample (EDTA) is required for perchloroethylene analysis. Perchloroethylene is poorly metabolised so urine samples are unsuitable. Samples should be sent first class post or courier.

Reference Range

Provided by reference laboratory.


  • EQA Status:

    None Stated

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HTA licence number is 12366

Protection of Personal Information – Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection Policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and it’s employees to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235