An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Trichloroethylene Draft Risk Evaluation Available for Public and Scientific Review

For Release: February 21, 2020

EPA is asking for public input on the draft risk evaluation of trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical used as a solvent and an intermediate for refrigerant manufacture in industrial and commercial processes, and with limited consumers uses like as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning facilities. Seeking public input on the draft risk evaluation is the next step in the process outlined by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for EPA to review the risks associated with this chemical—a process that is designed to review the best available science before taking action to manage any unreasonable risks associated with this chemical. TCE is the eighth of the first ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under amended TSCA.

The draft risk evaluation is not a final agency action. The draft risk evaluation represents the agency’s initial review of the scientific data on this chemical and will be peer reviewed by independent, scientific experts as well as open for public comment. EPA will use feedback received from the peer review and public comment process to inform the final risk evaluation and will provide frequent updates on the agency’s progress throughout this process. If EPA’s final risk evaluation finds there are unreasonable risks associated with this chemical under the specific conditions of use, the agency will propose actions to address those risks within the timeframe required by TSCA. EPA’s actions could include proposed regulations to prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of this chemical substance, as applicable.

The draft risk evaluation assessed 54 conditions of use of TCE. In the draft risk evaluation, EPA did not find unreasonable risk to the environment under any of the conditions of use. Additionally, the draft risk evaluation discusses potential risks to workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders. As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept comments on the draft risk evaluation for TCE for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0500 on regulations.gov. EPA will also hold a peer review meeting of EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on the draft risk evaluation for this chemical’s conditions of use on March 24-26, 2020. The peer review meeting is open to the public to attend and provide comments.

Additional information:

View the TCE draft risk evaluation and supporting documents: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/draft-risk-evaluation-trichloroethylene

Learn more about the peer review meeting: https://www.epa.gov/tsca-peer-review/peer-review-draft-risk-evaluation-trichloroethylene-tce

Background

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 manufacture of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a. 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.