Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed regulation of perchloroethylene (PCE) under the Toxic Substances Control Act to protect public health.
PCE, also known as perc and tetrachloroethylene, “is used for the production of fluorinated compounds; as a solvent for dry cleaning and vapor degreasing; in catalyst regeneration in petrochemical manufacturing; and in a variety of commercial and consumer applications such as adhesives, paints and coatings, aerosol degreasers, brake cleaners, aerosol lubricants, sealants, stone polish, stainless steel polish, and wipe cleaners.” The EPA advised of its determination that PCE presents an unreasonable risk to health, including neurotoxicity from inhalation. Its Final Revised Risk Determination in December 2022 can be found here.
The proposed “risk management rule would rapidly phase down manufacturing, processing and distribution of PCE for all consumer uses and many industrial and commercial uses, most of which would be fully phased out in 24 months.” In addition, the EPA has proposed a 10-year phase out for the use of PCE in dry cleaning, as well, “with compliance dates depending on the type of machine in which PCE is used.”
While the proposal does not prohibit all industrial manufacturing, processing, and other uses of PCE, the agency is additionally “proposing a workplace chemical protection program with a strict inhalation exposure limit and requirements to prevent skin exposure to ensure protection for workers,” some of which are already in place among industry players.
Public comment on the proposed rule will remain open for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.