Bill Memo: TCE Free

1-Tree: Beneficial rating


This bill inserts new section 37-0119 in the environmental conservation law to ban certain uses of TCE as a vapor degreaser,  an intermediate chemical to produce other chemicals, a refrigerant, or an extraction solvent  or  in any other manufacturing or industrial cleaning process or use. The ban comes into effect immediately.


This bill prohibits certain uses of trichloroethylene (“TCE”)a toxic chemical and known human carcinogen.  

TCE is solvent used to remove grease from metal, a paint stripper, an adhesive solvent, an ingredient in paints and varnishes, and in the manufacture of other chemicals and products. TCE is a volatile substance and evaporates at room temperature into the air posing risks to individuals that use the chemical. It is also a major concern for water and soil contamination because breaks down very slowly in those environments because there is little air for it to readily evaporate. TCE has been found in at least 1,051 of the 1,854 National Priorities List sites identified by the EPA, as well as one of the most frequently detected groundwater contaminants. 

Exposure to TCE occurs through air, water, food, and soil. Acute exposure can cause dizziness headaches, sleepiness, incoordination, confusion, nausea, unconsciousness, and even death; while long-term exposure has been strongly linked to various types of cancer, including kidney, liver, lymphoma, testicular, and leukemia.  

In 2017, EPA proposed a ban on the use of TCE commercial vapor degreasing as a result of health risks identified in a 2014 TSCA Chemical Work Plan Chemical Risk Assessment for TCE.  The EPA’s risk assessment provided overwhelming evidence to support the TCA ban, however, since that time EPA has not surprisingly failed to finalize the proposed rule.  

New York must once again pick up the pieces on chemical regulation to protect our health and environment. This bill could be made stronger by applying the ban on TCE to uses in consumer products, such as craft spray adhesives and glues, as well as its use a spot treatment by dry cleaners.  

Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial

Memo #: 43