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Environment

TCE Poses Risks, EPA Assessment Says

by Cheryl Hogue
June 30, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 26

Trichloroethylene (TCE) poses health risks to workers and consumers, EPA concluded in an assessment issued last week. At risk are workers in small commercial shops that use TCE as a degreaser, dry cleaners that use it as a stain remover, and consumers who use spray aerosol degreasers and protective coating sprays for arts and crafts, the agency says. EPA is considering whether to regulate the solvent under the Toxic Substances Control Act, to seek voluntary action by industry, or to do both to reduce these risks, which include cancer, fetal cardiac defects, and adverse effects on the kidneys. In the meantime, the agency is recommending that people reduce their exposure to TCE by using spray products while outside if they contain the compound or by wearing protective equipment. The TCE risk assessment is the first that EPA has completed for 83 chemicals or families of compounds that it is scrutinizing for potential regulation. In response, three Republican senators who have been critical of EPA are questioning the science used in the TCE risk assessment.

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