Risk Management for Trichloroethylene (TCE)
Below is information on EPA actions to manage the unreasonable risk from trichloroethylene (TCE) and protect public health. TCE is a volatile organic compound used mostly in industrial and commercial processes. Consumer uses include cleaning and furniture care products, arts and crafts spray coatings, and automotive care products like brake cleaners, and other consumer products.
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- Learn how EPA manages unreasonable risks from chemicals currently on the market.
- View a list of all chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, including docket numbers and agency points of contact.
In October 2023, EPA proposed to ban the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for all uses, with longer compliance timeframes and workplace controls (including an exposure limit) for some processing and industrial and commercial uses until the prohibitions come into effect. The rule would protect consumers, workers, occupational non-users and bystanders from the harmful health effects of TCE.
EPA’s proposed risk management rule would rapidly phase down manufacturing, processing, distribution, and use of TCE for all uses, most of which would be fully phased out in one year. For uses where a longer timeframe is necessary, EPA is proposing robust worker protections. For example, there are currently no alternatives to TCE use as a process solvent for battery separator manufacturing. For this use, which is critical to the economy and infrastructure, EPA is proposing a 10-year TSCA section 6(g) exemption from the prohibition to allow for continued battery separator manufacturing and sufficient time to investigate and adopt alternative solvents. During the time-limited exemption, companies would have to abide by a workplace chemical protection plan.
EPA is also proposing other phaseouts and exemptions, including a 10-year phaseout timeframe for use of TCE by Federal agencies in making rocket booster nozzles, and an additional time-limited exemption for critical or essential degreasing on Department of Defense vessels. Additional time-limited exemptions would support ongoing cleanup activities of past TCE contamination, such as disposal of TCE and its use in laboratories for essential activities. These longer phasedowns and exemptions would also require a workplace chemical protection plan in the interim, and, in some cases, requirements that alternatives be tested.
The proposed risk management rule is based on EPA’s November 2020 TSCA section 6 risk evaluation, as amended by the January 2023 final revised risk determination for TCE.
In the final revised risk determination, EPA determined that TCE presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health under its conditions of use.
EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for TCE for 45 days following publication in the Federal Register via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0642 at www.regulations.gov. To submit a comment, first navigate to the docket in regulations.gov. Then click “Browse Documents” to view the proposed risk management rule. Click on the “Comment” button to submit your comment.
EPA hosted a webinar on November 14, 2023 about the proposed risk management rule. View the materials from the webinar.
- View a list of all public and stakeholder engagement opportunities related to risk management.
- You can reach out to the EPA point of contact for this chemical, listed at the top, right of this page, for more information or to schedule a one-on-one meeting.
- You can also stay informed by signing for our email alerts or checking public docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0642 at www.regulations.gov.
Past Meetings, Webinars, and Other Engagement Opportunities
EPA held environmental justice consultations regarding the development of risk management actions for TCE on June 16, 2021, and July 6, 2021. These consultation sessions provided an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from TCE, and an opportunity for input on environmental justice concerns. The environmental justice consultation period ended August 20, 2021. View materials from the consultation sessions.
On December 15, 2020, EPA held a webinar to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the findings in the 2020 risk evaluation for TCE. View the materials for the webinar.