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Sen. Udall Joins Citizens From Across U.S. to Denounce EPA Delay on TCE Bans

Cancer-Causing Industrial Solvent Taints Tap Water for 14 Million Americans, Present at Hundreds of Superfund Sites
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., will join Americans impacted by the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency carry out proposed bans on high-risk uses of the carcinogenic compound.

The news conference is at 11:30 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.

Citizens from New York, North Carolina, Indiana, Arizona and California will tell the stories of how they believe TCE exposure may have harmed their loved ones or has threatened their own health. They and Udall will urge the EPA to protect the health of all Americans by finalizing the bans.

The EPA says TCE is carcinogenic by all routes of exposure. Exposure to TCE has been linked to liver, kidney and neurological damage, and to leukemia and other cancers. It has also been linked to birth defects. EPA documents raise concerns that the agency may ignore critical studies finding that TCE exposure causes heart defects in developing fetuses and has other serious health effects. 

In December 2016, the EPA proposed banning uses of TCE as an aerosol degreaser and a spot cleaner in dry cleaning facilities. It was the first ban proposed in more than 25 years under the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, the nation’s primary chemicals law.

A month later, the EPA also proposed banning TCE in vapor degreasing.

Under the Trump administration, the EPA retreated from its proposed bans and is now also excluding exposures to TCE in water, air and soil from a key safety assessment on the chemical.

A report released last week found that the tap water for more than 14 million Americans is contaminated with TCE. In 2015, TCE was detected in EPA-mandated tests by more than 300 public water systems in 36 states. In about half of those systems, average annual levels of TCE were above what some health authorities say is safe for infants and developing fetuses. TCE also contaminates hundreds of Superfund sites across the country, where it causes significant health risks. 

The news conference coincides with the first congressional hearing for Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will face questioning by the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.

What: News conference urging EPA to act on proposed TCE bans

When: 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Where: U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
Room SVC 208
First Street NE
Washington, DC 20515

Participants:

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Kari Rhinehart, Johnson County, Ind., who lost her child after a battle with cancer.

Jerry Ensminger, White Lake, North Carolina, who was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His daughter was exposed to toxic chemicals while living on base and died of leukemia.

Linda Robles, Tucson, Ariz. She has been exposed to TCE in her tap water for more than 35 years.

Jan Peterson, San Francisco. Her husband Glen used a TCE solution to clean copiers and typewriters for a living. He died in 2014 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Loreen Hackett, Hoosick Falls, N.Y.  She lived across the street from a Honeywell plant now designated as a Superfund site because of TCE contamination.

The press event also will be live-streamed on Sen. Udall’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/senatortomudall/

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CONTACTS:

Participants will be available for interviews after the press conference.

To speak with Loreen Hackett, or Scott Faber and Melanie Benesh of EWG, please contact Monica Amarelo at 202-939-9140 or [email protected].

To speak with the Center for Environmental Health, please contact Ansje Miller at 510-379-8449 or [email protected]

To speak with Jan Peterson or Kari Rhinehart or the Environmental Defense Fund, please contact Sharyn Stein at (202) 572-3396 or [email protected].

To speak with Liz Hitchcock or Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, please contact Jamie Nolan at (410) 463-9869 or [email protected].