Chemical Regulations: Is TCE Being Banned?

Also known as trichloroethylene, TCE is a halocarbon frequently used for industrial solvent needs. However, the chemical compound appears on track to be banned or severely regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). in the near future.

When it went into wide production in the 1920s, TCE was hailed as a highly effective anesthetic. However, roughly a century later, scientists have discovered that, from a health perspective, TCE is one of the last things you would want to use for anesthesia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a conservative list of negative health effects from TCE exposure includes:

  • Irritated eyes and skin
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cardiac arrhythmias,
  • Paresthesia
  • Liver injury
  • Potentially cancer

It’s enough to make any company immediately stop using TCE and favor banning it. However, like other toxic chemicals the EPA has banned, TCE is highly effective at what it’s used for: a solvent for dry cleaning, a movie film cleaner, and an industrial strength degreaser, just to name a few. Does this mean a TCE ban will be avoided? Probably not.

EPA to the Rescue

According to a December 2016 report from OSHA, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 7 proposed to ban some uses of trichloroethylene (TCE) because of health risks when it is used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.”

The report goes on to say the EPA “identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can various adverse health effects, including cancer, developmental and neurotoxicological effects, and liver toxicity.”

Coming from the EPA, these findings signal a strong possibility of a coming TCE ban that will add the embattled compound to the agency’s List of Lists. There will likely be a TCE phase out period that lets organizations use already purchased TCE. Then, the compound will be phased out of production in the U.S. and become illegal to import from other countries.

TCE Replacements

While the EPA is busy handling the legislative side of a TCE ban, organizations the ban affects should be hard at work identifying TCE replacements that work as well as TCE, without all of the short-term and long-term side effects for workers. If your organization is in this position, searching for a TCE replacement at a manufacturer of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred chemicals, such as Ecolink, is a good place to start.

How Ecolink Can Help

If you need safer chemicals in anticipation of a TCE ban, we offer several stock solutions that may meet your needs. If not, we can formulate a custom solvent designed for your requirements. To show the solution works as well as it appears to on paper, we’ll send you a free solvent sample, so you can see how the product performs. Simply make the request.

Don’t let a TCE ban catch you unaware. To get started on selecting an effective TCE replacement, please call us today at 1-800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to helping you replace your TCE chemicals quickly and hassle-free!