Replacing TCE

There are viable, effective alternatives to replace TCE – Trichloroethylene

As you are probably aware, the EPA has identified Trichloroethylene (TCE) for risk evaluation as part of EPA’s Work Plan for Chemical Assessments under TSCA.

SBAR Panel: Regulation of Trichloroethylene under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act

Currently, the EPA is planning on giving their final ruling about:

“TCE Use in Dry Cleaning and Aerosol Degreasing – TSCA Section 6(a) around September of 2016. With a separate Regulatory Agenda entry (RIN 2070-AK11) addresses the EPA’s consideration of a rulemaking to address the risks associated with TCE when used in vapor degreasing operations.” see link above

The implications are that many industrial cleaning and degreasing users are going to be looking for a TCE replacement and to this point – one of the most effective TCE replacements has been nPB solvents – like GenTech vapor degreasing solvent.

nPB solvents – although far from the unicorn of cleaning and degreasing solvents, are considered direct replacements for TCE, in that they possess the same solvency as TCE and similar physical properties without the inherited health and safety risks associated with TCE.

nPB solvents like also happen to be economical and available.

So when assessing how to find a TCE replacement, some key questions will be:

  1. Are we vapor degreasing?  If you are vapor degreasing, nPB is a vary viable alternative to TCE especially with proper vapor degreasing practices and worker safety measures.  Even PERC and Methylene Chloride are still viable alternatives – but have different cleaning effectiveness on different substrates and contaminants. You can give Reliance a call and discuss your cleaning questions.
  2. How cost sensitive are we? using nPB to replace TCE is more economical than jumping to some of the newer fluorinated solvents…but if your company has H&S mandates…see next question
  3. How important is the TVL (worker exposure level measurements) to our company? Do we have company mandates we have to adhere to? If so, the newer fluorinated solvents are viable (although not economical) alternatives to nPB and TCE.

TCE has shown us how effective cleaners can be. And we appreciate what it has contributed to industrial cleaning. Now, it is time to update our cleaning processes with new generation of solvents and solvent cleaning equipment. Using nPB as a replacement – might be a viable next step…as it allows you to use your current equipment while still being cost effective.

Post by – Reliance Specialty Products, Inc. – vapor degreasing and solvent cleaning experts that manufacture both vapor degreasing equipment and vapor degreasing solvents