Following through on an August 2015 proposal, the EPA has issued a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for trichloroethylene (TCE) when manufactured or processed for use in a consumer product (exceptions apply).
Persons subject to SNUR will be required to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing any manufacturing or processing of TCE for a significant new use. The required notification will provide the EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary and based on the information available at that time, take action to protect against potential unreasonable risks, if any, from that activity before it occurs. The authority to regulate new uses of chemicals, provided to the EPA under Section 5(a)(2) of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), remains one of few effective provisions in a statute that provides the Agency almost no practical power to regulate existing chemicals.
TCE is as used as a solvent, a refrigerant, and in dry-cleaning fluid. About 84 percent of TCE is used in a closed system as an intermediate chemical for manufacturing refrigerant chemicals. Much of the remainder is used as a solvent for degreasing metals; a small percentage has other uses, including use as a spotting agent in dry cleaning and in consumer products.