Health Risks Prompt EPA to Propose New Ban on TCE

Health Risks Prompt EPA to Propose New Ban on TCE

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a ban on certain uses of the harmful chemical ‘trichloroethylene’ (TCE) due to the health risks it poses when used in aerosol degreasers and as a spot removal chemical for dry cleaning.

This new push is the result of the Final Risk Assessment on TCE completed by the EPA in 2014. The assessment, conducted under the work plan of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), revealed the chemical can be harmful to humans, potentially causing cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects, and liver toxicity.

In particular, the EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of TCE by companies in the form of aerosol degreasers and spot cleaners. If implemented, the move would also require manufacturers, processors and distributors to inform their supply chain (including retailers themselves) of the prohibition.

The TSCA study also uncovered a number of health risks associated with vapor degreasers and other applications containing TCE, for which separate regulatory actions are being developed, and will soon be reviewed by the EPA.

This evolving regulatory field signals the need for companies to conduct ever-more sophisticated due diligence measures to understand the possible risks in their supply chains and to be prepared for more far-reaching regulatory prohibitions in the future.

Once enacted, the ruling will be available on the Federal Register. For further details, see the EPA’s announcement here.

Contact Assent’s regulatory experts at for more information on this proposed ban, and for help understanding how it might impact your organization.