EPA Moves to Ban Some Uses of Trichloroethylene

"For the first time in a generation, we are able to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose risks to public health and the environment," said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 7 proposed to ban some uses of trichloroethylene (TCE) because of health risks when it is used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning. "For the first time in a generation, we are able to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose risks to public health and the environment," said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "Once finalized, today's action will help protect consumers and workers from cancer and other serious health risks when they are exposed to aerosol degreasing and when dry cleaners use spotting agents. I am confident that the new authority Congress has given us is exactly what we need to finally address these important issues."

EPA's announcement said the agency identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can various adverse health effects, including cancer, developmental and neurotoxicological effects, and liver toxicity.

EPA proposes to prohibit manufacture and imports, processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities, and also to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions. Last week, EPA included TCE on the list of the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated for risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received within 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

For more information about TCE, visit https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/trichloroethylene-tce.

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