US Takes Drastic Steps: Proposed Ban on Trichloroethylene (TCE)

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The US EPA is proposing a complete ban on trichloroethylene (TCE), a widely used industrial degreasing solvent, due to its carcinogenic properties.

TCE is an integral part of various manufacturing processes, including refrigerants, tires, and battery separators. This proposed ban is poised to disrupt chemical companies.

The proposed rule suggests a rapid phasing-out of TCE, with most uses expected to be terminated within a year. There will be limited exemptions to this rule.

Chemical companies are advised to identify where TCE is used and seek alternatives to avoid future challenges and interruptions in their processes.

The EPA is inviting comments on the proposed rule during the 45-day comment period, particularly regarding implementation strategies and compliance with exposure levels.

The EPA's approach to banning TCE echoes its recent actions on chemicals like dichloromethane. A similar ban on most dichloromethane uses was proposed earlier this year.

The EPA sees the proposed ban as a crucial step in safeguarding people from a cancer-causing chemical. It aims to protect the environment and drinking water from TCE contamination.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents US chemical companies and raises concerns about the restrictions on TCE, emphasizing its valuable industrial uses in packaging and formulation.

The proposed TCE ban brings into question the delicate balance between consumer safety and protecting industrial applications.

The fate of TCE is now in the hands of stakeholders, with a decision expected to be finalized in 2024. The outcome will have broad-reaching consequences.

As the debate rages on, the chemical industry, regulators, and environmental advocates will continue to influence the future of trichloroethylene in the United States.