Past Action

Potential TCE and Paint Remover Regulatory Revisions

EPA is planning to use their regulatory authority under the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) section 6(a) for the first time in over 25 years. These actions will place limits on the use of chemicals in commerce that have known impacts to tribes and the environment. In addition to immediate exposure, one of the chemicals, trichloroethylene (TCE), once spilled, travels through soil and groundwater and in some cases contaminating drinking water and indoor air, affecting entire communities. Voluntary limitations on use by industry have not been effective and tribes are being asked to offer comments during forthcoming consultations.

Your recommendation can influence EPA’s regulatory action to adequately protect people against the risks associated with the use of TCE, methylene chloride, and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and may also limit further exposure to these toxic chemicals through tribal resources. Decisions concerning TSCA section 6(a) regulations may affect businesses in Indian Country using these products.

Tribal leaders are invited to a Consultation Briefing on December 12, 2013. Tribes will have the opportunity to provide input during the meeting and/or submit any written comments to EPA within six weeks of after the meeting.

Should you wish to send comments through the mail, please send them to:
Irina Myers
US Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics – MC 7408M
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20460

EPA is requesting general comments on tribes’ uses of these chemicals, general comments on the rulemakings, and general input on any disproportionate public health or economic impacts that TCE, methylene chloride, or NMP may have on tribal populations. The technical consultation invite letter and background information can be found at http://tcots.epa.gov/oita/TConsultation.nsf/TC?OpenView, titled Proposed Rulemakings under the Toxic Substances Control Act for 1) Methylene Chloride and n-Methylpyrrolidone in Paint Removers and 2) Trichloroethylene in Certain Uses.

  • Commercial use of TCE in open top vapor degreasing at commercial shops (both precision and non-precision cleaning).
  • Consumer and commercial use of TCE in spray degreasers.
  • Consumer use of TCE in clear protective coating sprays.
  • Commercial use of TCE as a spotting agent in dry cleaning.

What can tribes do?
Decisions concerning TSCA section 6(a) regulations may affect tribal populations’ exposure to TCE, methylene chloride, and NMP and businesses in Indian Country using these products. Your comments may influence EPA’s regulatory action to adequately protect people against the risks associated with the use of TCE, methylene chloride, and NMP and may limit further exposure to this toxic chemical through tribal resources.

To regulate a substance under section 6, EPA should apply the least burdensome means of adequately protecting against the unreasonable risk. In developing a rule under section 6(a), TSCA section 6(c) directs EPA to publish a statement with respect to:

  1. The effect of the chemical substance being regulated on health and the magnitude of exposure of humans to the substance.
  2. The effects of such substance on the environment and the magnitude of exposure of the environment to the substance.
  3. The benefits of such substance for various uses and the availability of substitutes for such uses.
  4. The reasonably ascertainable economic consequences of the rule, after consideration of the effect on the national economy, small business, technological innovation, the environment, and public health.

The following table summarizes regulatory options available under TSCA section 6(a):

 

TSCA Section Summary Option
6(a)(1) Prohibit or limit manufacture A requirement (A) prohibiting the manufacturing, processing, or distribution in commerce of such substance or mixture, or (B) limiting the amount of such substance or mixture which may be manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce.
6(a)(2) Prohibit or limit for particular use or above a set concentration A requirement (A) prohibiting the manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce of such substance or mixture for (i) a particular use or (ii) a particular use in a concentration in excess of a level specified by the Administrator in the rule imposing the requirement, or (B) limiting the amount of such substance or mixture which may be manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce for (i) a particular use or (ii) a particular use in a concentration in excess of a level specified by the Administrator in the rule imposing the requirement.
 
6(a)(3) Require warnings and instructions A requirement that such substance or mixture or any article containing such substance or mixture be marked with or accompanied by clear and adequate warnings and instructions with respect to its use, distribution in commerce, or disposal or with respect to any combination of such activities. The form and content of such warnings and instructions shall be prescribed by the Administrator.
 
6(a)(4) Require recordkeeping and testing A requirement that manufacturers and processors of such substance or mixture make and retain records of the processes used to manufacture or process such substance or mixture and monitor or conduct tests which are reasonable and necessary to assure compliance with the requirements of any rule applicable under this subsection.
 
6(a)(5) Prohibit or regulate manner or method of commercial use A requirement prohibiting or otherwise regulating any manner or method of commercial use of such substance or mixture.
 
6(a)(6) Prohibit or regulate manner or method of disposal (A) A requirement prohibiting or otherwise regulating any manner or method of disposal of such substance or mixture, or of any article containing such substance or mixture, by its manufacturer or processor or by any other person who uses, or disposes of, it for commercial purposes.
 
6(a)(7) Direct manufacturers/ processors to give notice of risk and replace or repurchase A requirement directing manufacturers or processors of such substance or mixture (A) to give notice of such unreasonable risk of injury to distributors in commerce of such substance or mixture and, to the extent reasonably ascertainable, to other persons in possession of such substance or mixture or exposed to such substance or mixture, (B) to give public notice of such risk of injury, and (C) to replace or repurchase such substance or mixture as elected by the person to which the requirement is directed.
Significance to Tribes:

 

Decisions concerning TSCA Section 6(a) regulations may affect tribal populations’ exposure to TCE and businesses in Indian Country using these products. In addition to immediate exposure, once spilled, TCE can travel through soil and groundwater and in some cases contaminating drinking water and indoor air, where the affects become more widespread through inhalation and ingestion. Your comments may influence EPA’s regulatory action to adequately protect people against the risks associated with the use of TCE and may limit further exposure to this toxic chemical through tribal resources.

Santa Clara Pueblo staff, Shawn Chato and Brian Suazo, collect water samples from the Rio Grande, ensuring their resource continues to be free of TCE.

How has TCE affected tribes?

Tribes, such as the Santa Clara Pueblo, have been affected by TCE. A summary of the North Railroad Avenue Plume site in New Mexico (within the exterior boundaries of the Santa Clara Indian Reservation) can be accessed atwww.epa.gov/earth1r6/6sf/pdffiles/north-railroad-ave-nm.pdf. Additionally, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has prepared a public health assessment for the site, available at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/pha.asp?docid=1204&pg=1#sum.

While speaking with Dino Chavarria, Santa Clara Pueblo Environmental Director, NTTC support staff learned that they recently provided the community an update on the site in their quarterly newsletter in response to the many questions that continue to come into their office. Santa Clara environmental staff collaborate with EPA and the state to monitor the site, ensuring the safety of their members and resources.

Tribal engagement in the Superfund process was critical for including consideration of traditional and cultural use of Pueblo resources. The Rio Grande is a Santa Clara Pueblo resource that was being impacted by the TCE plume of contamination. The Rio has been a source of irrigation, recreation, and a vital part of the Pueblo’s culture for a thousand years. "TCE and PCE will break down to Vinyl Chloride, a carcinogen. It was important that the remedy selected to clean this site would prevent it from spreading even further onto Pueblo lands but also break down the TCE to harmless constituents. TCE is such a persistent chemical in the environment. It will not easily dissolve and can even degrade clay layers and further contaminate groundwater. Any tribal community near a facility that has used TCE for degreasing or dry cleaning should be vigilant about contamination that isn’t easily detected."

There are currently 852 Superfund sites in which TCE is a contaminant of concern and several of which it is the primary contaminant of concern. A recent report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPRCA) shows that 525 facilities nationwide released over 8 million pounds of TCE to the air, 400 pounds to surface water, and 12,600 pounds to the land.

Please submit your experiences (successes/challenges) and tribal-specific documents to share on our website using the attached form:

 Case Study template

 

 

 

Resources

 

EPA's Notification of Consultation and Coordination on Proposed Rulemakings under the TSCA for 1) Methylene Chloride and NMP in Paint Removers and 2) TCE in Certain Uses:
 View document

EPA’s Background Information for Proposed Rulemaking under TSCA Section 6(a) for TCE (4pp):
 View document

EPA’s Background Information for Proposed Rulemaking under TSCA Section 6(a) for NMP and Methylene Chloride (6pp):
 View document

NTTC TSCA Section 6(a) Fact Sheet (2pp):
 View document

NTTC TCE Fact Sheet (2pp):
 View document

 

 

Websites

 

EPA Tribal Consultation Opportunities
 http://tcots.epa.gov/oita/tconsultation.nsf/TC?OpenView

EPA TCE Final Risk Assessment (June 2014) 
 www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/TCE_OPPTWorkplanChemRA_FINAL_062414.pdf

Expert Public Workshop on Alternatives and Risk Reduction Approaches to TCE
 www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPPT-2014-0327-0001

US EPA Technical Factsheet on TCE
 www.epa.gov/ogwdw/pdfs/factsheets/voc/tech/trichlor.pdf 

ATSDR Camp Lejeune Site Information
 http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html

 

 

 

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