EPA Will Propose to Prohibit Most Uses of Methylene Chloride under TSCA Section 6(a)


On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a proposed rule under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would prohibit most uses of methylene chloride. EPA states that its unreasonable risk determination for methylene chloride was driven by risks associated with workers, occupational non-users (ONU), consumers, and those in close proximity to a consumer use. EPA identified risks for adverse human health effects, including neurotoxicity, liver effects, and cancer from inhalation and dermal exposures to methylene chloride. According to EPA, its proposed risk management rule would “rapidly phase down” manufacturing, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride for all consumer uses and most industrial and commercial uses, most of which would be fully implemented in 15 months. EPA notes that for most of the uses of methylene chloride that it will propose to prohibit, its analysis found that alternative products with similar costs and efficacy to methylene chloride products are generally available. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will begin a 60-day comment period.

According to the pre-publication version of the proposed rule, pursuant to TSCA Section 6(b), EPA determined that methylene chloride presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, including an unreasonable risk to potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations identified as relevant to the 2020 methylene chloride risk evaluation, under the conditions of use (COU). To address the unreasonable risk, EPA will propose, under TSCA Section 6(a) to:

  • Prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride for all consumer use;
  • Prohibit most industrial and commercial use of methylene chloride;
  • Require a workplace chemical protection program (WCPP), including inhalation exposure concentration limits and related workplace exposure monitoring and exposure controls, for ten conditions of use of methylene chloride (including manufacture; processing as a reactant; laboratory use; industrial or commercial use in aerospace and military paint and coating removal from safety-critical, corrosion-sensitive components by federal agencies and their contractors; industrial or commercial use as a bonding agent for acrylic and polycarbonate in mission-critical military and space vehicle applications, including in the production of specialty batteries for such by federal agencies and their contractors; and disposal);
  • Require recordkeeping and downstream notification requirements for manufacturing, processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride;
  • Provide a ten-year time-limited exemption under TSCA Section 6(g) for civilian aviation from the prohibition addressing the use of methylene chloride for paint and coating removal to avoid significant disruptions to critical infrastructure, with conditions for this exemption to include compliance with the WCPP

Read More

JD Supra, 26-04-23
; https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/epa-will-propose-to-prohibit-most-uses-2243290/