EPA Proposes Complete Ban on Trichloroethylene
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a ban on all uses of trichloroethylene (TCE), a common industrial degreasing solvent considered to be a human carcinogen. The new rule, expected to be finalized sometime in 2024 after a stakeholder comment period, will broadly impact chemical companies.
Impact on Chemical Companies
TCE is used in many manufacturing processes, from production of refrigerants and tires to battery separators. If implemented, the rule would require most uses of TCE to be ended within a year.
What Chemical Companies Can Do
Chemical companies should consider the following:
- Understand where TCE is used in their products and processes.
- Assess whether there are alternatives to TCE.
- Start to transition to alternatives now, rather than waiting until the rule is finalized.
- Comment on the EPA’s proposed rule during the 45-day comment period.
Chemical Industry Pushback
The chemical industry in the US is pushing back against the EPA’s proposed ban. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) points out that TCE has several important uses in packaging and formulation, and as a solvent, where small amounts are used.
The ACC argues that the EPA’s proposed ban is unnecessary and could have a negative impact on the US economy. However, the EPA maintains that the ban is necessary to protect public health.
The EPA’s proposed ban on TCE is a significant development that could have a major impact on chemical companies. Chemical companies should carefully consider the proposed rule and take steps to prepare for the potential ban.