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EPA releases final risk assessment on Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Agency begins process to address potential human health risks

July 3, 2014
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EPAThe EPA has released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE) that identifies health risks to workers in shops and dry cleaners that use the chemical as a degreaser or a stain removing agent. Consumers may also be exposed to TCE when using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives. 

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, said that until Congress strengthens the current federal toxics law, “We are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

The final TCE risk assessment was developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified chemicals for review and assessment of potential risks to people’s health and the environment. The EPA developed the draft TCE risk assessment based on the best available information and finalized the assessment after careful consideration of comments from the public and experts during an independent, scientific peer review of the assessment. TCE is the first chemical to complete the work plan risk assessment process under TSCA.

The EPA is conducting a workshop from July 29-30, on potential TCE degreaser alternatives and risk reduction approaches. The agency will conduct other activities to address TCE uses as a stain removing agent in dry cleaning and as a clear protective spray fixative.

In the meantime, The EPA recommends that people take precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well-ventilated area and wearing protective equipment to reduce exposure.

Additional information on the TCE risk assessment, the July 29-30 public workshop, and TSCA workplan chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/riskassess.html

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