US EPA Proposes Prohibition on Methylene Chloride Use
On May 3, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a Federal Register notice regarding a proposed rule to prohibit the use of methylene chloride due to its unreasonable risk of injury to human health. These identified risks were addressed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which requires the EPA to establish rules and regulations to eliminate the unreasonable risk of injury to human health caused by certain chemicals. Under TSCA Section 6(a), regulations have been developed which target the overall processing (from manufacturing to disposal) of certain chemical substances and mixtures in order to eliminate identified human health risks.
Otherwise known as dichloromethane, methylene chloride continues to be used in industry in the processing of solvent products such as adhesives and sealants. This chemical has been known to present risks to human health as it is acutely lethal and considered likely to be carcinogenic to humans. Methylene chloride can also pose negative effects to the central nervous system that can result in loss of consciousness, respiratory depression, and even death.
EPA is proposing to prohibit incorporating methylene chloride in the manufacturing of products for commercial use. This proposed rule will also prohibit most of the industrial and commercial uses of methylene chloride. Under certain conditions, facilities may be allowed to continue using methylene chloride; these conditions include requiring a workplace chemical protection program (WCPP) to be developed and implemented, including compliance with inhalation exposure concentration limits and exposure monitoring requirements.
Parties who might be affected by this proposed action are those involved in manufacturing and processing of methylene chloride or products containing this chemical. The Federal Register notice includes a list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes for industries that could potentially be affected by the proposed rule.
How to Submit Comments
EPA is accepting comments until July 3, 2023 through the following link:
- Online submission via Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov (identified by Docket ID NO. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0465).
Other submission methods together with the full EPA public comment policy, information about confidential business information (CBI), and general guidance can be found at https://www.epa.gov/dockets.
Members of Walden’s EHS group have extensive experience working with hazardous substances, and we have several professionals on staff with relevant certifications, including CHMM (Certified Hazardous Materials Manager), CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist), and CSP (Certified Safety Professional). Call Walden at 516-271-1948 if you have any questions or concerns about the EPA’s proposed rule or other health and safety issues in your manufacturing operations.