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EPA to Ban Some TCE Uses

EPA is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.  TCE is a regulated drinking water contaminant and has been the cause of ground water contamination related to the uses EPA is planning to ban.  Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.  EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions.
EPA identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can cause a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects, and toxicity to the liver.  EPA’s assessment also found risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing, and the agency is developing a separate proposed regulatory action to address those risks. Last week, 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 will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical.
The official publication of this action is expected soon in the Federal Register.  There will be a 60-day comment period after publication.  Once published, the proposed rule and supporting documents will be available in the Federal Register docket at: https://www.regulations.gov/ by searching for HQ-OPPT-2016-0163.  Additional information is available at: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/trichloroethylene-tce.