Overview of solvent legislation

Perchloroethylene (PER):

ECHA's "Substance Evaluation Report for Perchloroethylene" published in October 2014 concludes, based on the REACH registration dossier, that no further regulatory actions such as authorization or restriction are needed at the EU level. PER was one of the few substances that came out of this evaluation with no further information requested.

PER is not considered a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC). Therefore, companies can continue to use the solvent which is, due to its excellent solvency power and its easy and effective recycling behaviour, still considered the benchmark in the industry. In order to continue using the substance in accordance with REACH, users need to ensure strict compliance with risk management measures or instructions on uses specified in the registration dossier or extended safety data sheet.

SAFECHEM collected some statements of various industry stakeholders about the cleaning with PER. You can watch the video here.

Trichloroethylene (TRI):

The use of TRI after 21 April 2016 (Sunset Date) is only allowed if an authorization for the relevant use is granted. On the 10th of August, the European Commission adopted the decision related to the application for authorisation for the use of Trichloroethylene (TRI) in industrial parts cleaning by vapour degreasing and granted the authorisation.

The authorisation has a review period of 4.5 years which is valid as of the Sunset Date (21st of April 2016); in consequence, the review period will expire on the 21st of October 2020. All users who need to continue using TRI after the Sunset Date and are in compliance with all requirements from Authorisation and the EU Commission Implementing Decision can continue to use TRI.

The authorisation dossier and the EU Commission Implementing Decision are available here.

1-Bromopropane / n-propylbromide (nPB):

At the end of September 2016, the European Commission drafted the amendment of Annex XIV, including n-PB due to its classification as toxic for reproduction (category 1B). Hence it is a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC). According to the principles of REACH, n-PB cannot therefore be considered a drop-in replacement for TRI. The amendment proposed a sunset date for n-PB of 36 months after its inclusion in Annex XIV. After the sunset date, the use of n-PB is only allowed if an authorization is granted for the specific use. In June 2017, the European Commission implemented an amendment of Annex XIV including nPB due to its classification as toxic for reproduction (category 1B).

The amendment mentions 4 July 2020 as a sunset date for nPB. Once the sunset date has passed, the use of nPB is only allowed if an authorization is granted for the specific use. This information is available on the ECHA website via the following link:



Alkoxy propanols are synthetic solvents also known as modified alcohols. These solvents provide excellent cleaning results for many applications due to their balanced ability to dissolve polar and non-polar substances. These products have a low toxicity and a good environmental profile and are not therefore considered SVHCs.

Alkoxy propanols have been registered for surface cleaning and textile cleaning applications respectively.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):

At the United Nations conference in Rwanda in late 2016, 197 nations agreed to drastically reduce their use of HFCs, potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioners, refrigerators, and solvent cleaning and vapour degreasing applications. HFCs were developed in the 1990s to replace hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances. Although HFCs used in solvent cleaning applications are not ozone depleting, they have high global warming potentials (GWPs). The continued growth of HFCs would make them a major contributor to climate change; therefore, all the members of the UN decided to phase out their production under the same treaty that dealt with HCFCs, the Montreal Protocol.

The newly amended Montreal Protocol will require more developed countries like the United States to start cutting HFC use by 2019, while less developed countries and countries with higher ambient temperatures will have to start restricting use by 2024.

As this is all implemented under the existing Montreal Protocol, which was ratified back in the 1990s, this deal is legally binding. Ultimately, the new amendment aims to cut global HFC use by 80 percent or more by mid-century.

So-called Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are often promoted as drop-in replacements for HFCs. The GWP of HFOs is lower than that of HFCs. Nevertheless, there are some concerns about HFOs as the composition of these compounds is not entirely transparent, and scientific data is lacking.