The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an agreement with a manufacturer to voluntarily phase-out the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) in an aerosol arts and crafts spray fixative product as part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to reduce the public’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
“We are pleased that a company’s voluntary efforts to eliminate TCE from their aerosol fixative product used for arts and crafts will soon mean that all consumer products of this type are TCE-free,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We are also proposing a rule that will give EPA the opportunity to review and, if necessary, block introduction, including imports, of new TCE spray fixative and other consumer products before re-entry into the marketplace. This will ensure a level playing field for American companies who step up and do the right thing. In addition, we are pursuing regulatory action to reduce the risks from exposure to TCE in other products that are not voluntarily addressed.”
TCE is an example of how EPA’s assessment of existing chemicals can lead to real results that protect health and the environment. After identifying health risks associated with a number of TCE uses in its June 2014 Work Plan Chemical Risk Assessment conducted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA worked with the manufacturers of TCE on possible voluntary efforts to reduce exposure.
The PLZ Aeroscience Corporation, of Addison, IL, has committed to cease manufacturing its aerosol spray fixative product containing TCE by September 1, 2015. This type of product is used by artists, picture framers, graphic designers and printers to provide a water repellant and protective finish. It is the only TCE-containing spray fixative product on the market still used in arts and crafts.
EPA is issuing a proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) under TSCA which requires anyone intending to initiate manufacture (including import) or processing of TCE for these uses to notify EPA at least 90 days before doing so. The notification will allow EPA to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit the use prior to entering the marketplace. Current uses of TCE are not subject to the proposed rule.
In addition to the phase-out and SNUR, the Agency is taking a number of additional steps to reduce the risks from exposure to TCE. EPA is encouraging the transition to safer chemicals and greener processes/ technologies, promoting the use of best practices, and pursuing regulatory action under TSCA to reduce or limit the manufacture, import and use of TCE in a range of products.
EPA is requesting a 60 day comment period that will begin upon publication in the Federal Register at www.regulations.gov and searching for EPA-HQ-OPPT-2014-0327.
A pre-publication copy of the proposal and more information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/tce.html
Learn more about EPA’s TSCA Work Plan Assessments.