EPA: Carbon Tetrachloride May Present Exposure Risks for Some Workers
A draft risk evaluation published by EPA in January identifies no “unreasonable” risks to workers associated with the solvent carbon tetrachloride, provided that appropriate personal protective equipment is used. The agency did find that individuals who work in the vicinity of the chemical but not directly with it could be adversely affected by carbon tetrachloride under certain conditions of use. According to EPA, these unreasonable risks for nearby workers are associated with chronic inhalation exposure to carbon tetrachloride.  EPA evaluated 15 potential uses of carbon tetrachloride in industrial and commercial work, including the manufacture of chlorinated compounds, repackaging for use in laboratory chemicals, and industrial and commercial use in metal recovery. On its website, the agency describes carbon tetrachloride as “a solvent used primarily as a feedstock in the production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and hydrofluoroolefins.” EPA is accepting comments on its draft risk evaluation until March 27. The Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals—a federal advisory committee charged with providing scientific advice, information, and recommendations to EPA on chemicals regulated under Toxic Substances Control Act legislation—reviewed the draft risk evaluation during a meeting in February. More information about the public comment period and the SACC meeting is available in the federal docket folder. EPA’s new draft risk evaluation of carbon tetrachloride is the seventh published under the amended TSCA legislation. As amended by the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, TSCA requires EPA to complete risk evaluations for 10 chemicals within three to three-and-a-half years. As this issue of The Synergist went to press, EPA had yet to issue draft risk evaluations for the remaining three chemicals: asbestos, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene. More information on EPA activities related to chemical risk evaluations is available on the agency's website.