UNITED STATES NEWS

EPA proposes banning cancer-causing chemical used in automotive care and other products

Oct 23, 2023, 12:33 PM | Updated: 12:50 pm

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday proposed banning the cancer-causing chemical trichloroethylene, which can be found in consumer products including automobile brake cleaners, furniture care and arts and crafts spray coating.

The move would end a nearly four decade battle to ban the chemical known as TCE, which can cause sudden death or kidney cancer if a person is exposed to high levels of it, and other neurological harm even at lower exposure over a long period.

EPA’s recent risk-evaluation studies found that as much as 250 million pounds of TCE are still produced in the United States annually. One of the first places the chemical raised concern was in Massachusetts, where it was linked to contaminated drinking water in the city of Woburn. Two locations there were ultimately designated as massive Superfund sites. Monday’s news conference was held at one of them, a location which now serves as a transportation center.

“For far too long, TCE has left a toxic legacy in communities across America,” said Michal Freedhoff, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today, EPA is taking a major step to protect people from exposure to this cancer-causing chemical.”

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, who has led the effort to ban TCE, welcomed the move.

“With this rule, we can see a future where we will no longer be manufacturing, processing and distributing a chemical known to be deadly,” Markey said. “We will no longer be exposing American families, communities and workers to a toxic chemical legacy that leaves questions, cancer and catastrophe in its wake.”

Markey called the effort personal, citing his long-time work with Anne Anderson, a resident-turned-activist whose son Jimmy died in 1981 of leukemia.

“Since Anne and I met in 1980, we have been partners in the effort to clean up Woburn, to get justice for her son, and to save other families from seeing their children fall sick as a result of contamination,” Markey said. “Thanks to the advocacy of Anne Anderson and the action of the EPA, the era of corporations using communities like Woburn as dumping grounds for toxic TCE is over.”

A 1982 lawsuit over the contaminated water supply involved eight Woburn families, including the Andersons. The case garnered national attention and led to the book and movie titled “A Civil Action.”

TCE is used to make refrigerants and in solvents that remove grease from metal parts. It is also used in carpet cleaners, laundry spot removers and hoof polish for horses. The chemical presents an “unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment” in 52 of 54 uses in industrial and consumer products, the EPA has found.

“I am overwhelmed that all of you are here to acknowledge everything that has happened and everything that was bad has turned good,” Anderson said. “I owe so much to you people to keep the fight going, making sure that everybody is safe and that toxic chemicals like TCE will no longer exist.”

The proposed ban stems from a major expansion of EPA’s regulatory powers under a landmark 2016 law that overhauled rules governing tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in everyday products, from household cleaners to clothing and furniture.

The statute authorized new rules for tens of thousands of toxic chemicals found in everyday products, including substances such as asbestos and TCE, that for decades have been known to cause cancer but were largely unregulated under federal law. Known as the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the law was intended to clear up a hodgepodge of state rules governing chemicals and to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

The 2016 law required the EPA to evaluate chemicals and put in place protections against unreasonable risks. The agency moved to ban asbestos last year and has also proposed banning methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and carbon tetrachloride.

__

Associated Press writer Matthew Daly in Washington contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search in rural Colorado for suspect in shooting that left 1 dead, 2 injured

ALAMOSA, Colorado (AP) — Officers went door to door in a rural area of southern Colorado on Sunday as aircraft searched overhead for a man suspected of shooting three people, killing one, and then fleeing on foot into farmland after a failed carjacking. Suspect Henry Corral, 44, should be considered armed and dangerous, said police […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

EPA proposes banning cancer-causing chemical used in automotive care and other products