The chlorinated cleaning solvents have drawn the attention of regulatory agencies in recent years because of their popularity in a wide variety of industries. Initiation of regulatory review is sometimes viewed by chemical users and the public as the beginning of highly restrictive regulation or a ban. Consequently, an irreversible market impact can occur before a regulatory decision is made. The regulatory and market history of trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene are traced from the 1960s to the present. Current regulatory activities concerning methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichlorotrifluoroethane (CFC-113) are reviewed, as are the prospects for future federal regulation. State regulation of the solvents also is discussed, focusing on regulation of air toxics and Proposition 65 in California and air toxics regulation in New York.
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