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Environment Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to ban perchloroethylene

To protect public health under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed on June 8, 2023, that most uses of perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical that poses serious health risks like neurotoxicity and cancer, be banned. The current proposal would prohibit all consumer uses,

Under strict workplace controls, the Agency would be permitted to use industrial and commercial facilities for purposes related to national security, aviation, and other critical infrastructure.

PCE is proposed to continue to be allowed for industrial and commercial use in petrochemical manufacturing, the production of coatings for aircraft skins, and vapor degreasing with PCE to manufacture aerospace parts and engines.

PCE is used for various modern applications, including brake cleaners, cement, and cleaning. PCE is generally dissolvable. PCE, for instance, is a chemical intermediate used in the production of two chemicals governed by the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. PCE can be combined with other substances to produce more climate-friendly refrigerants, so this rule proposes to allow PCE to be processed to produce hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)-125 and HFC-134a under strict workplace controls.

According to EPA, PCE could pose a significant health risk to workers, nonclients (laborers near the compound but not participating in this one), shoppers, and people close to a buyer’s use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that exposure to inhalation or dermal exposure could lead to neurotoxicity or cancer. It is expected that the proposed rule’s prohibitions and other requirements will significantly reduce risks for neighbouring communities. However, the agency only identified a small number of instances where fence-line communities may be at risk.

According to the EPA’s proposed risk management rule, PCE production, processing, and distribution for all consumer and industrial uses would be rapidly phased out. Most of these uses will be phased out within 24 months. PCE’s proposed prohibitions only apply to uses that account for less than 20% of its annual production. There are reasonable alternatives to PCE with comparable costs and efficacy, according to EPA’s analysis. It intends to ban most of these uses.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PCE use in dry cleaning will be phased out over ten years, with compliance dates varying by machine type. Those who work at dry cleaning facilities or spend a lot of time there would not face an unreasonable risk if PCE were phased out. Stakeholders have already observed a decline in PCE use in dry cleaning. As a result of this phaseout period, dry cleaners, many of whom are small businesses, will have time to switch to another method. In his budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, President Biden requested funding for pollution prevention grants. By providing grants, small businesses can transition to TSCA-compliant practices and reduce their economic impact. By implementing these grants, small businesses like dry cleaners could move away from PCE. Several workplaces already have controls in place that may reduce exposures sufficiently to meet the proposed rule’s inhalation exposure limit, according to industry data. As a result, PCE may not come into contact with their skin. Comments on it will be accepted by EPA for 60 days via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0720 at

Therefore, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a significant step toward protecting public health by proposing a ban on perchloroethylene (PCE). The EPA’s risk management rule aims to reduce PCE’s serious health risks, such as neurotoxicity and cancer, by banning most of consumer use. While industrial and commercial uses of PCE will be allowed under strict workplace controls, the EPA’s analysis shows that there are viable alternatives to PCE for most prohibited uses. In conjunction with pollution prevention grants and existing workplace controls, the ten-year phaseout of PCE in dry cleaning ensures a smoother transition and reduces the impact on small businesses.

Keeping up with regulatory updates and maintaining compliance is our mission at ComplianceXL. It is more important than ever for us to remain compliant with TSCA amendments. Regulations are constantly changing, and it is our team’s responsibility to keep up with them. By analyzing current practices, evaluating impacts, and implementing appropriate measures, we help organizations understand the impact. Call us today to speak with one of our TSCA Compliance specialists.



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