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EPA Pushing For Ban on TCE After Finding Carcinogens

Dec. 16, 2016

Risks were found in connection to trichloroethylene uses when used as a degreaser or a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.

The EPA is proposing a ban on specific uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser or a spot removal agent in dry cleaning. This will affect FMs in particular who supervise industrial facilities or buildings that include dry cleaning services.

In a 2014 assessment, the EPA concluded that serious risks to workers and consumers pertain to trichloroethylene uses that the chemical can cause a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects and toxicity to the liver.

Concretely, the EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture, 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’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 trichloroethylene on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical. This current action only proposes to ban certain uses of the chemical.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. Once published, the proposed rule and supporting documents will be available in the Federal Register docket by searching for HQ-OPPT-2016-0163.

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