The EPA Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda defers Agency action on three chemicals for which the proposed rules had indicated bans would be forthcoming:
- Methylene chloride in paint strippers,
- N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint strippers, and
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) as a spot cleaner in dry-cleaning and as a degreasing agent.
The rulemakings are listed as “long-term actions” and will be issued “to be determined” in the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. EPA has not explained the reason for the deferrals. Proposed regulations for methylene chloride and NMP were issued in January 2017. Further information on EPA’s past actions regarding methylene chloride can be found here. Further information on EPA’s past actions regarding NMP can be found here. Proposed regulations for TCE were issued in December 2016 and January 2017. Further information on EPA’s past actions regarding the substance can be found here.
The rulemakings were developed under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). They address uses of the chemicals identified to be of concern in risk assessments published prior to the Lautenberg amendments to the statute. In addition to the proposed rules on these uses of concern, all three chemicals are also are among the first substances selected for risk evaluation under the Lautenberg amendments. EPA is required to complete each of those risk evaluation within 3 years of its initiation. (The amendments also allow the Agency two years after each risk evaluation is published to issue final rules restricting the uses of chemicals that present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.) A larger set of uses than those identified above will be considered in the forthcoming risk evaluations. However, EPA has been sued over the final rule for the risk evaluation process. One issue challenged in that litigation is the scope of uses that will be addressed by the process. That litigation is ongoing.