On July 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a proposal to The White House for final review, which would enact new restrictions on the use of the degreasing chemical trichloroethylene (TCE). According to the Chemical Regulations Reporter®, it remains unclear if the proposal would aim to enact a partial ban or phasedown of TCE to help prevent workplace exposure to the chemical, or if a full ban is recommended. Details of the proposal will not be released until The White House completes its final review (expected November 2016).
Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provides authority for the EPA to ban or restrict the manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce, and use of chemicals, as well as any manner or method of disposal. With this new proposal, the EPA will determine whether the continued use of TCE would pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment in vapor degreasing applications (RIN 2070-AK11) and as a spotting agent in dry cleaning and in certain consumer products (RIN 2070-AK03).
As of its sunset date of April 21, 2016, TCE can no longer be used in parts of Europe, including the UK, without authorization or exemption under REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals).
What does this mean for industrial cleaning applications like vapor degreasing?
Industrial cleaning operations continue to migrate away from non-sustainable solutions, including n-propyl bromide (nPB) and TCE. 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are an ideal replacement, offering effective, sustainable properties for use as a cleaning solvent or vapor degreasing solvent. With a large margin of safety to help protect employees, and all the cleaning performance and material compatibility that your application requires, there is a 3M Novec fluid for you.
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