TCE Restrictions: What They are and Why They Matter

Trichloroethylene — also known as TCE — is a halocarbon commonly used as an industrial degreasing solvent by companies worldwide. At one time, the chemical was even used as an anesthetic and an inhaled obstetrical analgesic. However, like many early generation halocarbons, TCE was eventually found to have a veritable powder keg of negative effects that emerging scientific evidence soon confirmed.

According to the excellent Wikipedia entry on TCE, the negative effects are quantified as: “promotion of cardiac arrhythmias, low volatility and high solubility preventing quick anesthetic induction, reactions with soda lime used in carbon dioxide absorbing systems, prolonged neurologic dysfunction when used with soda lime, and evidence of hepatotoxicity, as had been found with chloroform.” It’s a lot of dirty laundry for a single halocarbon, but the findings prevail.

What TCE Restrictions Mean for Companies

According to a press release communicated through the 3M website, “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 using the degreaser TCE.”

According to the Chemical Regulations Reporter®, it’s unclear if the proposal would enact a partial ban or phase-down of TCE to help prevent workplace exposure, or if a full ban would ensue. Details of the proposal will be released after The White House completes a final review in November 2016.” Until then, many TCE users will be closely monitoring the outcome, hoping for a soft reaction that allows them to use the solution in an efficacious volume.

Finding a Good Replacement for TCE Solvent

Like other regulated and banned chemicals before it, the negativity swirling around the use of TCE in commercial and industrial settings presents TCE users with a conundrum not hard to resolve, when viable TCE replacements are on the table.

Here’s how the EPA feels about using TCE via the news section of the 3M website: “Industrial cleaning operations continue to migrate away from non-sustainable solutions, including n-propyl bromide (nPB) and TCE.” The article goes on to say there are ideal replacements for TCE that have “effective, sustainable properties for use as a solvent, with a large margin of safety to help protect employees.”

Contact Ecolink for a TCE Replacement Solvent

TCE may be effective for your solvent operations, but it has a negative impact on the health of workers that — at the very least — translates into increased sick days taken and workers comp claims. Expose workers to TCE until they develop incurable health problems, and you’ll really get the point, when you surrender multiple millions to settle chemical injury claims.

Don’t be a tycoon who cares about business more than human resources that make it possible. Contact Ecolink today to get TCE replacements that are healthier for workers and you solvent use concerning the EPA. To get started on replacing TCE with a stock or custom solvent, call Ecolink today at (800) 563-1305, or fill out the contact form on our website. We look forward to assisting you!