NSC Labor Division news Federal agencies Workplace exposures Chemical Manufacturing

EPA proposes partial ban of carbon tetrachloride


Photo: jimfeng/iStockphoto

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency wants to protect workers against exposure to the chemical substance carbon tetrachloride – and ban uses that already have been phased out.

Used in commercial and industrial products, carbon tetrachloride – or CTC – has been linked to cancer and liver toxicity stemming from inhalation and being exposed to or absorbed through the skin, according to a proposed rule published on July 28.

EPA has found that CTC poses “unreasonable” risk of injury to human health under multiple conditions of use.

The proposal would permit the agency to establish a workplace chemical protection program that sets the chemical exposure limit at 0.03 parts per million over an 8-hour time-weighted average for uses including:

  • Domestic manufacture
  • Import
  • Processing as a reactant in the production of hydroflurocarbons and perchloroethylene
  • Repackaging for use as a laboratory chemical
  • Recycling
  • Industrial and commercial use as an industrial processing aid in the manufacture of agricultural products

Anyone involved in laboratory use of the chemical would be required to use a fume hood and personal protective equipment to protect their skin.

The agency also seeks to prohibit conditions of CTC use it understands have already been phased out, including:

  • Incorporation into formulation, mixture or reaction products in petrochemical-derived manufacturing
  • Industrial and commercial use in metal recovery
  • Industrial and commercial use as an additive
  • Industrial and commercial use in specialty uses by the Department of Defense

“The science is clear. Exposure to carbon tetrachloride is dangerous and we have a responsibility to protect the public from the risks it poses,” Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release.

The deadline to comment on the proposal is Sept. 11.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)