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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Risk Evaluation for Perchloroethylene

Perchloroethylene is currently undergoing risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The 2016 amendments to TSCA directed EPA to pick its first ten chemicals for evaluation from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments; perchloroethylene is on the Work Plan. In April 2020, EPA released the draft risk evaluation for perchloroethylene.

The draft risk evaluation discusses potential risks to workers, occupational non-users, consumers, bystanders, and the environment. These initial determinations may change as our evaluation becomes more refined through the public comment and peer review processes.

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Background on Perchloroethylene 

Perchloroethylene is a colorless liquid used primarily in industrial settings for dry cleaning and degreasing metals. This chemical is also used in the production of fluorinated compounds, as a solvent for cleaning and degreasing, and in lubricants, adhesives, and sealants. Perchloroethylene has a limited number of consumer uses in products like adhesives for arts and crafts and stainless steel polish. The yearly aggregate production volume ranged from 388 to 324 million pounds between 2012 and 2015.

Conditions of Use Included in the Risk Evaluation, Problem Formulation, and Scope

In the draft risk evaluation, EPA evaluated 68 conditions of use associated with the manufacturing (including import), processing, distribution, use, and disposal of perchloroethylene. Uses include the following:

  • Processing as a reactant/intermediate
  • Processing aid in petroleum production
  • Use as a dry cleaning solvent
  • Use in vapor degreasing and cold cleaning
  • Use in textile processing
  • Use in photographic film
  • Incorporation into products including, but not limited to spot cleaners, adhesives, and brake cleaners

In June 2017, EPA released the scope document for perchloroethylene which included the hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations EPA expected to consider in its risk evaluation of perchloroethylene conducted pursuant to TSCA section 6(b). In June 2018, EPA released the problem formulation for perchloroethylene which refined the scope of the perchloroethylene risk evaluation by clarifying the chemical conditions of use that EPA expected to evaluate and describing how EPA expected to conduct the evaluation.

After releasing the scope documents for each of the first 10 chemicals undergoing risk evaluation under TSCA, the dockets for each of the first 10 chemicals were open for public comments. Read EPA’s Responses to Public Comments Received on the Scope Documents for the First Ten Chemicals for Risk Evaluation under TSCA. This document addresses cross-cutting public comments received in response to EPA publishing the scope documents.

Draft Risk Evaluation

In April 2020, EPA released the draft risk evaluation for perchloroethylene. It is available for comment until July 6, 2020 in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0502.