Using Economic Incentives to Regulate Toxic Substances

By Molly K. Macauley; Michael D. Bowes et al. | Go to book overview

2
Chlorinated Solvents

A distinguishing feature of chlorinated solvents (particularly as compared with heavy metals such as cadmium) is their rapid dissipation when exposed to the open atmosphere. This characteristic makes solvents useful in many applications. It also creates the possibilty for harmful exposures in some cases while reducing the possibility in others--particularly for solvents whose harmful effects are less likely to affect third parties. The feasibility and cost of reducing dissipation of different solvents in different applications and the presence or absence of third-party effects are important considerations in designing solvent regulations. The extent to which our recommendations for chlorinated solvents can be generalized to other dissipative toxic substances also depends on these costs considerations and third-party effects.

We include four chlorinated solvents in our analysis. They are listed in table 2-1, together with their chemical names and common acronyms. Perchloroethylene (PERC), trichloethylene (TCE), and 1,1,1,-trichloroethane (TCA) are used primarily in cleaning applications; methylene chloride (METH) is also used for cleaning, but has no single dominant use. The applications for these solvents are discussed in more detail below. Until the early 1990s, CFC-113 was also a major chlorinated solvent, but it is not included in our analysis because its use is being phased out by the year 2000 under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and its use has already begun to decline rapidly.

This chapter is organized as follows. After reviewing the sources and uses of each of the chlorinated solvents, we discuss their adverse health and environmental effects and then trace the life cycle of each solvent from production through uses to ultimate disposal. The discussion of product life cycles is organized by specific solvent applications and integrates previously identified harmful effects and exposure paths. It is followed by a brief overview of existing regulations for the solvents.

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Using Economic Incentives to Regulate Toxic Substances
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Resources for the Future v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures and Tables ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Chlorinated Solvents 18
  • References 50
  • 3 - Formaldehyde 52
  • References 77
  • 4 - Cadmium 80
  • References 105
  • 5 - Brominated Flame Retardants 108
  • References 122
  • 6 - Summary and Conclusions 125
  • References 132
  • Index 135
  • About the Authors 144
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