Ban proposed on toxic chemical used in cleaning agents

Federal authorities have proposed a ban on trichloroethylene (TCE), a highly toxic chemical used in cleaning agents, furniture care products, degreasers, break cleaners, and tire repair sealant. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday there are a variety of safer alternatives readily available for many uses. The ban would protect people from the threat of cancer neurotoxicity and reproductive toxicity by banning the manufacture, processing and distribution of TCE for all uses. 

The proposed risk management rule would take effect in one year for consumer products and most commercial uses, and would implement stringent worker protections on the limited remaining commercial and industrial uses that would be phased down over a longer period. 

The proposal’s expected exposure reductions to prevent cancer before it starts aligns with  President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot,  a whole-of-government approach to end cancer as we know it.  

The proposal also advances the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, which seeks to address impacts of underinvestment in communities overburdened by legacy pollution and environmental hazards.   

Biden’s son, Beau Biden, a decorated Iraq war veteran, died of brain cancer in May of 2015. 


The EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for TCE for 45 days following publication in the Federal Register via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0642 at

The EPA will also host a public webinar targeted to employers and workers, but useful for anyone looking for an overview of the proposed regulatory action. The date, time and registration information will be announced soon.