Due to its serious adverse effects on human and environmental health, TCE is subject to many regulations at the state and federal levels.
Federal Environmental Regulations
EPCRA: Reportable under Toxic Release Inventory, Subject to Tier II reporting requirements; Reportable Quantity = 100 lbs.
CAA: Hazardous air pollutant; Vapor degreasers must meet the national emissions standards for halogenated solvents.
RCRA: Land disposal of TCE and all chlorinated solvents banned. Waste must be destroyed in incinerators or cement kilns. Characteristic Toxic Hazardous Waste: TCLP Threshold = 0.5 mg/L. Listed Hazardous Waste: U228, F001, F002, F024, F025, K018, K019, K020.
CWA - Water Quality Criteria: Based on fish/shellfish and water consumption = 2.5 μg/L; based on fish/shellfish consumption only = 30 μg/L.
SDWA: The maximum contaminant limit set for drinking water is 0.005 mg/L.
FDA: Maximum permissible level in bottled water = 0.005 mg/L; TCE may be used as a solvent in the manufacture of specified foods.
Federal Occupational Exposure Limits
OSHA: Permissible exposure limit (PEL) = 100 ppm; Ceiling Concentration = 200 ppm; Acceptable Peak Exposure = 300 ppm (5 minutes in any 2 hours).
ACGIH: Recommended threshold limit value - Time-Weighted Average Limit (TLV-TWA) = 10 ppm; Threshold Limit Value - Short Term Exposure Limit (TLV-STEL) = 25 ppm.
NIOSH: Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) = 25 ppm (as a 10-hour TWA); Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) = 1000 ppm; Listed as a potential occupational carcinogen.
Massachusetts: TCE is a designated high hazard substance, with an annual reporting threshold of 1,000 lbs; Threshold Effects Exposure Limit 24-hour average: 36.52 μg/m3 (6.80 ppb); Allowable Ambient Limit annual average: 0.61 μg/m3 (0.11 ppb)
California: PEL: 25 ppm (135 mg/m3); Listed as a carcinogen under Proposition 65.
Endnotes: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Revised Air Guidelines; Mass DEP Standards and Guidelines for Contaminants in Massachusetts Drinking Waters, 2007; MassDEP Maximum Concentration of Contaminants for Toxicity Characteristic; California Department of Health Services Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service Fact Sheet: Trichloroethylene; NIOSH Pocket Guide http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/pgintrod.html; US EPA, Ground Water & Drinking Water Consumer Factsheet on: Trichloroethylene; American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices, 2005.