The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban the use of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used in vapor degreasing. The proposed rule was issued under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing. EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions.
Comments on the proposed rule must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.
Once finalized, this proposal along with EPA’s recent proposal to ban TCE in aerosol degreasers and spot removers in dry cleaning will help protect workers and consumers from cancer and other serious health risks that can result from exposure to TCE. EPA identified risks associated with these TCE uses in a 2014 assessment.
In late November, EPA announced the inclusion of TCE on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. That action will allow EPA to evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical.