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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Final Risk Evaluation for Carbon Tetrachloride

As part of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment, the agency has completed a final risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In the final risk evaluation, EPA reviewed 15 conditions of use, all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and primarily involve the manufacturing of other chemicals. There are no consumer uses of this chemical.

The carbon tetrachloride risk evaluation contains the agency’s final determinations on which conditions of use present unreasonable risks to human health or the environment based on a robust review of the scientific data. To prepare the final risk evaluation, EPA reviewed extensive scientific literature, conducted modeling and other risk assessment activities, and collected toxicity, exposure, and hazard information from many sources.

Releasing a final risk evaluation is the last step in the scientific evaluation process required by TSCA and will guide the agency’s efforts to issue regulations to address unreasonable risks associated with this chemical. EPA has one year to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.

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Risk Evaluation Findings

In the November 2020 final risk evaluation, EPA reviewed the exposures and hazards of carbon tetrachloride uses and made the following final risk findings on this chemical. This final risk evaluation includes input from the public and peer reviewers as required by TSCA and associated regulations. In making these unreasonable risk determinations EPA considered the hazards and exposure, magnitude of risk, exposed population, severity of the hazard, uncertainties, and other factors.

There are no consumer uses of this chemical. In the final risk evaluation, EPA reviewed 15 conditions of use, all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and primarily involve the manufacturing of other chemicals. 

EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment from any conditions of use. The agency assessed the impact of carbon tetrachloride on aquatic and sediment-dwelling species through surface water and sediment exposures, and to terrestrial species. After reviewing these data, EPA found no unreasonable risk to the environment.

EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users from 13 conditions of use of carbon tetrachloride. EPA found unreasonable risks from most commercial uses of this chemical to workers in direct contact and workers nearby but not in direct contact with carbon tetrachloride (known as occupational non-users). This includes unreasonable risks when manufacturing the chemical; processing the chemical as a reactant or intermediate and into formulation of other products; laboratory uses; recycling; uses in a variety of industrial and commercial applications; and disposal. Unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users can come from long-term inhalation or dermal (through the skin) exposures. Carbon tetrachloride does not pose an unreasonable risk for two conditions of use: when processed as a reactant in reactive ion etching and in distribution in commerce.

Using Products Safely and Alternatives

While EPA is working through the process required by TSCA to address the unreasonable risks found from carbon tetrachloride, the information below provides ways to reduce exposure.

For any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label. For example, carbon tetrachloride safety data sheets developed by the manufacturer remind users to only use the product in well-ventilated areas.  

Workers using products containing carbon tetrachloride should continue to follow label instructions and applicable workplace regulations and should properly use appropriate personal protective equipment.

Next Steps and Public Participation

The next step in the process required by TSCA is risk management. EPA will propose and take public comments on actions to address the unreasonable risks identified in the risk evaluation. According to TSCA, the agency must finalize those actions within two years of completing the final risk evaluation. EPA’s proposed regulations could include requirements on how the chemical is used, or limiting or prohibiting the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal of this chemical substance, as applicable.

EPA is committed to being open and transparent as the agency follows the process required by the law for evaluating unreasonable risks from chemicals. EPA will continue to keep the public updated as the agency moves through the risk management process. Following the comprehensive risk evaluation process required by TSCA ensures that the public has confidence in EPA’s final conclusions about whether a chemical substance poses any unreasonable risks to health or the environment under the conditions of use. This then allows the public to have confidence in the risk management actions taken to ensure the safety of chemicals on the market.

There will be additional opportunities for public participation. Just like the risk evaluation process, there will be opportunities for public comment as EPA works to propose and finalize risk management actions for carbon tetrachloride. You can stay informed by signing up for our email alerts or checking the public docket at EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0499 at www.regulations.gov. 

Final Risk Evaluation and Supporting Documents

The final risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride, non-technical summary, response to comments, and other supporting documents are below.

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