EPA Finally Taking Action to Ban Known Carcinogen

EPA Finally Taking Action to Ban Known Carcinogen

(NationRise.com) – The EPA recently announced that it is considering banning trichloroethylene (TCE), a dangerous cleaning chemical that causes cancer and other long-term health problems.

The chemical, which is often used in the manufacturing of cooling agents, has contaminated municipal water supplies and sickened many people. It was one of the chemicals that leaked during North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base contamination for over three decades. Veterans Affairs created a presumptive connection for enlisted members who were exposed.

Most victims who consumed or were otherwise exposed to TCE have developed lymphoma and cancers of the kidneys and liver. Some have also suffered from a weakened immune system, neurological damage, and reduced reproductive health. It can lead to long-term health issues for fetuses as well.

The EPA initially considered the use, distribution, and manufacturing of TCE in 2016 as part of a safety law that had recently passed. A study conducted in 2014 revealed the dangers that it posed to both employees and customers in areas where it was used as a cleaning agent. However, officials later withdrew the effort. The EPA also considered restricting nine other chemicals under 2016’s Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Under that law, the agency must study a chemical for three years before making a decision on its ban.

The new regulations implement the same restrictions as the original proposal. Aside from a few exceptions, the EPA hopes to have the majority of TCE’s uses phased out over the course of a year.

Some of the few exceptions for its continued use include military applications and the manufacturing of batteries. However, those exceptions have been called “temporary” and may require the use of alternatives in the future.

The EPA believes that 53,000 workers regularly come in contact with TCE each year. It also admits that the chemical is often found in tap water, although no precise figures were given.

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