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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Risk Evaluation for Trichloroethylene (TCE)

EPA evaluated trichlorethylene (TCE) under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and completed the final risk evaluation in November 2020. The next step in the process required by TSCA is addressing these risks. EPA will now begin the process of developing ways to address the unreasonable risks identified and has one year to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.

Find information about other chemicals undergoing risk evaluations under TSCA

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Background on TCE

TCE is a volatile organic compound used mostly in industrial and commercial processes. An estimated 84% of TCE’s annual production volume is used as an intermediate in the manufacturing of refrigerants. Another 15% of TCE production volume is used as a degreasing solvent, leaving approximately 1% for other uses. The total aggregate production volume decreased from 220.5 to 171.9 million pounds between 2012 and 2015.

Uses of TCE

Common commercial uses of TCE are as a solvent in industrial cleaning/degreasing, an ingredient in adhesives and sealants, in paints and coatings, and in automotive care products like brake cleaners. Consumer uses include cleaning and furniture care products, arts and crafts spray coatings, and automotive care products like brake cleaners, and other consumer products.

Risk Evaluation of TCE under Amended TSCA

In November 2020, EPA released the final risk evaluation for TCE. The final risk evaluation for TCE shows that there are unreasonable risks to workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders for 52 out of 54 conditions of use of TCE. EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment.

In February 2020, EPA released the draft risk evaluation for TCE for public comment and peer review. 

In June 2017, EPA released the scope document for TCE which included the hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations EPA expected to consider in its risk evaluation of TCE conducted pursuant to TSCA section 6(b). In June 2018, EPA released the problem formulation for TCE which refined the scope of the TCE 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 these 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 the scope document.

Review of TCE Prior to Amended TSCA

Prior to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, EPA completed a risk assessment for TCE. In 2014, EPA published the following information: