November 6, 2023
By John Kowalski, regulatory affairs lead, Supply Chain Team, UL Solutions
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound used in commercial and consumer products including adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, cleaning and furniture care products, and degreasers and for automotive care such as tire repair and brake cleaning. It is also used in industry for vapor degreasing, as an intermediate in the manufacture of certain refrigerants, and in the production of battery separators used in electric vehicles and other transportation, security, and defense systems. TCE is commonly found as a contaminant in soil and groundwater. Because of its adverse health effects, it is subject to numerous Federal laws and regulations in the United States and is also subject to regulation by some States and other countries.
On Oct. 31, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed risk management rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would prohibit most uses of TCE within one year after publication of a final rule. For limited uses of TCE, such as critical Federal Agency uses, battery separators used to make electric vehicle batteries, and the manufacture of certain refrigerants that are being phased down while industry transitions to more climate-friendly refrigerants, the proposed rule would provide a longer transition period while requiring stringent worker protections to reduce exposures in the near-term. The proposed rule would also prohibit the disposal of TCE to industrial pre-treatment, industrial treatment, or publicly owned treatment works, with a time-limited exemption for cleanup projects; and it would establish recordkeeping and downstream notification requirements.
EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until Dec. 15, 2023. It is also hosting a webinar on the proposed rule on Nov. 14, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Recommended action items
- Review the proposed rule;
- Attend the webinar; and
- Consider submitting comments.
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