EPA Rule Aims to Reduce TCE Exposure in Arts and Crafts Products

Published April 6, 2016

A significant new use rule (SNUR) issued today by EPA will require those intending to manufacture, import, or process trichloroethylene (TCE) for use in a consumer product to notify the agency at least 90 days before doing so. The rule, which was issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is intended to ensure that no manufacturers or importers enter the marketplace before EPA has the opportunity to prohibit or limit new uses of TCE.

Last year, EPA reached an agreement with the only U.S. manufacturer of a TCE spray fixative product, PLZ Aeroscience Corporation, to voluntarily phase out the use of TCE in the product by Sept. 1, 2015. According to EPA, the product in question was the only TCE-containing spray fixative product used in arts and crafts still on the market. Artists, framers, graphic designers, and printers use products of this type to create a water-repellant, protective finish.

Some current uses of TCE are not subject to the final rule, including use of the chemical in cleaners and solvent degreasers, film cleaners, hoof polishes, lubricants, mirror-edge sealants, and pepper spray.

The rule will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. A pre-publication copy of the rule is available on EPA’s website. For more information, see the agency’s press release.

EPA released its final risk assessment for TCE in June 2014, which identified occupational health risks to workers who use the chemical as a degreaser in small commercial shops and as a stain-removing agent in dry cleaning. The risk assessment also addresses health risks to consumers exposed to TCE when using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives.