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Environmental Law Alert: EPA Proposes Ban on Use of TCE in Degreasing and Drycleaning

January 13, 2017

In one of its first actions under the revamped Toxics Substances Control Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed ban on the use of the chemical tricholoethylene or TCE in aerosol degreasing and spot cleaning in dry cleaners. In announcing the ban, EPA made clear that it intended to also address the use of TCE in vapor degreasers in a future rulemaking, and in a separate announcement, has proposed banning its use in vapor degreasers

A common solvent, TCE is used in a wide variety of industries for degreasing. Examples of the types of industries that might be affected, in addition to the obvious dry cleaners: metal plating, machine shops, and a wide variety of manufacturing, ranging from soap to aircraft.   EPA reached the decision to ban this use of TCE because "EPA has preliminarily determined that the use of TCE in aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health."   The Agency specifically noted that it is not banning all manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce or use of TCE, but that it is taking a supply chain approach to certain uses that pose a greater risk.

Comments are due to EPA on or before February 24, 2017. 

Please contact any member of our Environmental group if you would like additional information.   

Pamela K. Elkow
(203) 252-2672; pelkow@carmodylaw.com

M. Anne Peters
(203) 575-2647; apeters@carmodylaw.com