Support the EPA’s proposed ban of this cancer-causing chemical

What's At Stake

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a ban on a chemical associated with fetal heart defects, increased risks of developing Parkinson’s Disease, and cancer – but industry is fighting to weaken the EPA’s proposal. 

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a highly toxic solvent commonly used in stain removers, degreasers, and a broad range of industrial processes and consumer products like paints and auto brake cleaners. This widespread use has contaminated drinking water supplies for 19 million people and is known to remain in soil and groundwater for long periods of time. 

In Tucson, Arizona, high levels of TCE were found in the drinking water system of communities on the city’s south side, near an airport where the solvent was used to clean planes nearby. Many residents who drank the contaminated water developed leukemia and liver, kidney, and immune issues. 

At Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the use and release of TCE at a marine base contaminated drinking water supplies for between 500,000 and 1 million service members, their families, and other local residents. Veterans stationed at that base experienced a 70 percent greater risk of Parkinson’s disease than those stationed elsewhere, and their children faced increased risks of leukemia, lymphoma and neural tube defects. 

Despite its devastating impacts, TCE remains in widespread production and use, with more than 150 million pounds manufactured or imported in the United States each year.     

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA is using its authority to protect the the public from chemicals’ unreasonable risks. The agency is working to finalize the rule but the chemical industry is fighting to weaken and delay that rule, leaving the public in harm’s way. 

This proposed ban would save lives and prevent widespread suffering for workers, consumers, and communities across the country. It’s time for the EPA to finish the job and ban TCE once and for all, with protections for all impacted communities while the chemical is being phased out. 

A warning sign posted near a pond contaminated with trichloroethylene and other hazardous chemicals at the former Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas.
A warning sign posted near a pond contaminated with trichloroethylene and other hazardous chemicals at the former Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas. (Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

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