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EPA calls for stronger toxics laws on heels of TCE report


The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE) has identified health risks from the chemical commonly used in spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives.    

 The June 25, 2014 report also identifies health risks to workers when TCE is used as a degreaser in small commercial shops and as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning. 

“EPA calls on Congress to enact legislation that strengthens our current federal toxics law,” said Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. “Until that time, we are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

The final TCE risk assessment was developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. EPA developed the draft TCE risk assessment based on the best available information and finalized the assessment after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessment. TCE is the first chemical to complete the work plan risk assessment process under TSCA.

EPA is conducting a workshop from July 29-30, 2014, on potential TCE degreaser alternatives and risk reduction approaches. EPA will conduct other activities to address TCE uses as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning and as a clear protective spray fixative.

In the meantime, EPA recommends that people take precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment to reduce exposure.

Additional information on the TCE risk assessment, the public workshop, and TSCA workplan chemicals can be found here.


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