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Friday, August 1, 2014

EPA risk assessment finds trichloroethylene (TCE) too toxic for use in dry-cleaners and hobby arts & crafts.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a highly toxic solvent commonly found in degreasing agents, spot cleaning agents in dry cleaners, and spray fixatives for arts & craft uses. It is linked to heart malformations in exposed fetuses, kidney toxicity including cancer, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and liver toxicity including cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized its risk assessment of TCE which, “identified health risks from TCE exposures to consumers using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives” and “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 July 25, 2014)
TCE has been linked to cancer and other diseases for a long time. In fact, a letter from Dr. Carey McCord (medical advisor for Chrysler Corp.) published in a 1932 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association warned that, “any manufacturer contemplating the use of trichloroethylene may find in it many desirable qualities. Too, in the absence of closed systems of operations [no ventilation], he may find in this solvent the source of disaster for exposed workmen” (JAMA July 30, 1932). Even the company doctors were warning against exposing workers to TCE - eighty years ago! Had chemical manufacturers and users heeded the warning, untold diseases and deaths may have been prevented.
EPA should ban TCE in these products, using enforceable regulations,...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.