TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to ban a cancer-causing chemical commonly used as a furniture cleaner and degreaser.
The ban would prohibit most uses of trichloroethylene (TCE) within one year. Limited remaining commercial and industrial uses would be phased out over a longer period and would require stringent worker protections.
In addition to liver and kidney cancer, health risks associated with the toxin include disruption of the nervous and reproductive systems and damage to fetal development, the EPA said.
The proposal was made under the Toxic Substances Control Act. It would ban manufacturing, processing, and distributing TCE for any use.
TCE is used in cleaning and furniture care products, degreasers, brake cleaners, and tire repair sealants. The EPA says safer alternatives exist. A longer transition to phasing out TCE would be allowed for critical uses by federal agencies, in battery separators used to make electric vehicle batteries, and for manufacturing certain refrigerants while the industry transitions to more climate-friendly refrigerants.
The agency will take public comments on the proposed rule for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The EPA also plans to host a public webinar for employers and workers. Anyone can attend. The date, time and registration information will be announced soon.
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