Sign up to receive email updates, action alerts, health tips, promotions to support our work and more from EWG. You can opt-out at any time. [Privacy]

 

Congressional Leaders Push EPA to Scrap or Delay Proposed Bans on Toxic Chemicals

Congressional Leaders Push EPA to Scrap or Delay Proposed Bans on Toxic Chemicals

Monday, July 17, 2017

The House Appropriations Committee is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap or delay proposed bans on three highly toxic chemicals – trichloroethylene, or TCE; methylene chloride, or MC; and n-methylpyrrolidone, or NMP. In December 2016 and January 2017, shortly before President Trump took office, the EPA proposed banning the chemicals for certain uses, which would have been the first such bans under the Toxic Substances Control Act in more than 25 years.

Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group, called the recommendation, contained in the committee's report explaining its proposed EPA budget, "more head-spinning action from the anti-public health wing of Congress."

Here is Benesh's statement:

If the Trump EPA rubber-stamps this outrageous demand, it means children and other Americans will be exposed to these toxic, cancer-causing chemicals for at least another five years, if not indefinitely. This report reaffirms the hostility toward protecting children’s environmental health from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, in the name of protecting the profits of the chemical industry.

The EPA says TCE is "carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure" and is also associated with developmental and reproductive harms. TCE became infamous after many residents, especially children, developed cancer when the chemical contaminated the water supply of Woburn, Mass., as chronicled in the book and movie “A Civil Action.” The agency is proposing to ban TCE from use as a spot cleaner, aerosol degreaser and vapor degreaser.

The EPA says long-term exposure to MC can cause liver and lung cancer. Both MC and NMP are linked to  developmental, reproductive and neurotoxic disorders. MC has been linked to more than 50 worker deaths since the mid-1980s. NMP is particularly dangerous to women of childbearing age, as it can have serious fetal effects. The EPA proposed to ban the use of MC, and ban or restrict the use of NMP in paint strippers.