The EPA is continuing the evaluation of hazardous chemicals as required by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (formerly known as TSCA.) Among the first ten chemicals to be named as potentially hazardous, and perhaps banned in some common uses, are trichloroethane (TCE), methylene chloride, and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). TCE and methylene chloride have been found to increase risk of cancer, liver toxicity, and other serious health problems. NMP has particular risks for women who are pregnant or of childbearing age.
TCE is already under review for its use in drycleaning. Now the EPA is adding vapor degreasing to the list of proposed regulated uses. If the ban is approved manufacturers and importers will be required to notify any business in the supply chain of the chemical, including distributors and retailers. Similarly, a ban is proposed for the use of methylene chloride for use in paint removal. The EPA has also asked for comment on a possible future ban of NMP in some paint removal applications, or alternatively a limit on the amount of the chemical which could be used in products, combined with labeling and required protective gear.
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