On Wednesday, June 7, SOCMA membership and staff testified on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing regarding the new proposed ruling on Methylene Chloride (MCL). EPA plans to ban the substance for use in commercial products, greatly reduce the amount in the manufacturing process, and require a workplace chemical protection program (WCPP) for workers in plants handling MCL. They are also requesting a more robust reporting and recordkeeping system for companies utilizing MCL in their manufacturing processes.

Concerns with the new ruling are as follows:

  • There is not a de minimis threshold. This means products made with traces of MCL due to the process of manufacture are still considered in the scope of these regulations.
  • MCL is integral in use as a solvent in manufacturers cleaning process.
  • Alternatives to MCL may make the workplace more unsafe, increase prices, or even lacking chemical properties needed.

Another note is that EPA has acknowledged that they might allow use of MCL’s in the process of manufacturing if there is adequate WCPP, because most of it is used in closed systems where employees do not come in contact with it much.

The final rule regarding the regulation of MCL should be published in the coming weeks. SOCMA will keep the membership apprised of when that happens, as well as any updates concerning MCL.

On behalf of the whole SOCMA membership, we would like to thank VanDeMark Chemical and Halocarbon for their time and effort on this matter, and sharing to EPA the potential damage this proposed rule could do to many companies in our industry.

For more information, contact SOCMA’s Government Relations team at government.relations@socma.org.

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