OCTC, Other State Chemistry Council Share Concerns on Methylene Chloride Porposal
U.S. EPA Director Michael Regan
The Honorable Michael Regan
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Regan:
As the representatives of the chemistry industry in Alabama, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia, we are writing to voice concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the use of methylene chloride for a variety of commercial and industrial uses. Methylene chloride is an essential compound used to produce a wide range of products and goods we rely upon every day, including the manufacture of polycarbonate, which is used in transportation, consumer goods, construction, packaging, and medical devices.
We are very concerned that this rule, as currently written, stands to end polycarbonate manufacturing in the United States. If polycarbonate production was forced elsewhere, it would likely move to China, which already produces 43% of the world’s chemicals. Furthering dependence on overseas exports conflicts with the Biden Administration’s onshoring goals and makes America’s economy increasingly vulnerable to supply chain disruption. Polycarbonate is used as part of the battery park housing in electric vehicles and 100% of automotive headlight lenses are made from polycarbonate. It is also a growth industry - in recent years, manufacturers of polycarbonate have seen enormous demand from car manufacturers as a result of rules encouraging vehicle weight reduction.
The EPA’s proposed rule would cause a missing link in the U.S. supply chain for a compound critical to automotives, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, energy, and defense – while putting nearly 10,000 American manufacturing jobs at risk of being shipped overseas. Methylene chloride is used as a processing solvent in a variety of pharmaceutical applications, and is used in manufacturing processes to make pesticides, clean automotive parts, serve as a lubricant in the energy industry, serve as a heat transfer fluid, and in some military specs where no other alternative is listed. The ripple effects of rapidly reducing the production of polycarbonate would impact critical uses, including health care supply chains and the specific safety-critical, corrosion-sensitive critical uses identified by EPA. These unintended but potentially serious consequences should be carefully and thoroughly evaluated by EPA.
By proposing to ban dozens of commercial and industrial uses, EPA fails to acknowledge that industrial users of methylene chloride have implemented robust workplace safety standards and are more than capable of using the substance safely as shown by a consistent worker safety record. Instead of broadly prohibiting its use, manufacturers should be allowed to meet the EPA’s proposed Workplace Chemical Protection Program and continue to use methylene chloride in a manner that does not present an unreasonable risk. We look forward to a timely response addressing our concerns.
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
New York State Chemistry Council
Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council
Texas Chemical Council
West Virginia Manufacturers Association