Opinion

Opinion

Letter to the editor: EPA should act

December 6, 2017

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To the editor:

Thanks to the 2016 update of U.S. chemical policy, the Environmental Protection Agency now has the authority to protect us from toxic chemicals. EPA proposed rules to restrict three dangerous chemicals many months ago, but the Trump administration has yet to act.

The case for action is strong: More than 300,000 workers and consumers are exposed to tricloroethylene (TCE) through both industrial processes and dry cleaning. It has been shown to cause cancer and has been linked to fetal heart malformations. Methylene chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) can be found on the shelves of our local hardware stores in paint strippers. Acute exposure to methylene chloride has resulted in multiple deaths since the 1980s. Exposure to NMP is associated with developmental harm, including increased fetal and infant mortality.

By finalizing bans on these high exposure industrial and consumer uses — in dry cleaning, vapor degreasing and paint stripping — EPA can protect thousands of workers and millions of consumers.

What are they waiting for?

Comments

Ken Lassman 1 week, 1 day ago

Thanks for this, LeeAnn. I know my Dad, who was a printer, suffered from long term effects associated with solvents used for cleaning ink from the presses over the decades, and many a mechanic has used such solvents in an unsafe manner because they work so well. I did so myself! The Center for Disease Control has good documentation of the deleterious effects of these chemicals--an example of that can be found here: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=15&po=5

I wasn't aware of the delays, so hopefully this will help folks push to get the process moving again.

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