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U.S. EPA Proposes to Regulate Perchloroethylene under TSCA

On June 16, 2023, EPA published a proposed rule that would prohibit all consumer uses and most industrial and commercial uses of Perchloroethylene.

Air freshener being sprayed in the air

June 30, 2023

By John Kowalski, senior regulatory specialist, Supply Chain team, UL Solutions 

Perchloroethylene (PCE), which is also known as Perc or Tetrachloroethylene, is a colorless, volatile liquid with a mildly sweet odor. It is used for the production of fluorinated compounds, as a solvent for dry cleaning and vapor degreasing, in catalyst regeneration in petrochemical manufacturing, and in a variety of commercial and consumer applications such as adhesives, paints and coatings, aerosol degreasers, brake cleaners, aerosol lubricants, sealants, stone polish, stainless steel polish, and wipe cleaners. Because of its adverse health effects, PCE is subject to numerous federal laws and regulations in the United States and is also subject to regulation by some U.S. states and other countries. 

On June 16, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would prohibit many ongoing uses of PCE and regulate the remaining uses. More specifically, the proposed rule would:

  • Prohibit most industrial and commercial uses of PCE and the manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce of PCE for those uses;
  • Prohibit the manufacture, import, processing, and distribution in commerce of PCE for all consumer use;
  • Prohibit the manufacture, import, processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use of PCE in dry cleaning and spot cleaning through a 10-year phaseout;
  • Require strict workplace controls, including a Workplace Chemical Protection Program (WCPP) and an Existing Chemical Exposure Limit (ECEL);
  • Require prescriptive workplace controls for laboratory use;
  • Establish recordkeeping and downstream notification requirements; and
  • Provide a 10-year time-limited exemption for certain emergency uses of PCE in furtherance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s mission and for specific conditions of use which are critical or essential and for which no technically and economically feasible safer alternatives are available.

EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until August 15, 2023. It is also hosting a webinar on the proposed rule on July 19, 2023 at 1:00 PM EDT. To register for the webinar, visit Eventbrite.

Recommended action items

  • Review the proposed rule;
  • Attend the webinar; and
  • Consider submitting comments.


Perchloroethylene; Regulation under TSCA; Proposed Rule

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