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February 24, 2020

EPA Releases Draft Risk Evaluation for Trichloroethylene

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released on February 21, 2020, the draft risk evaluation for trichloroethylene (TCE), “a chemical used as a solvent and an intermediate for refrigerant manufacture in industrial and commercial processes, and with limited consumers uses like as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning facilities.”  EPA assessed 54 conditions of use of TCE, and the draft risk evaluation includes the following findings:

  • EPA did not find risk to the environment; and
  • EPA’s draft risk evaluation preliminarily found unreasonable risk associated with dermal and inhalation exposure for workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders.

EPA notes that the draft risk evaluation and the initial risk determinations are not a final action.  The draft represents EPA’s preliminary conclusions, findings, and determinations on TCE and will be peer reviewed by independent scientific experts.  According to EPA, the draft risk evaluation includes input from other EPA offices, as well as other federal agencies.
The TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) will meet on March 24-26, 2020, to peer review the draft risk evaluation of TCE’s conditions of use.  EPA asks that comments on the draft risk evaluation be submitted by March 18, 2020, to allow SACC time to review and consider them before the peer review meeting.  EPA states that comments received after March 18, 2020, and prior to the end of the oral public comment period during the meeting will still be provided to SACC for their consideration.  EPA will hold a preparatory virtual meeting on March 3, 2020, for SACC and the public to comment on the clarity and scope of the draft charge questions for the March 24-26, 2020, meeting.
EPA will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the draft risk evaluation and beginning a 60-day comment period.  More information on the draft risk evaluation will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.

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