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We have blogged about The New York Times story describing the EPA Administration’s apparent effort to slow down the agency’s evaluation of the toxic effects of “legacy chemicals” like PFOA. But EPA’s analyses of legacy chemicals are not the only ones on which consumers, victims and concerned citizens should keep a wary eye.
Under the 2016 amendments to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA was directed to complete full evaluations of the risks of industrial chemicals and contaminants. As reported by the Times, EPA has now announced a list of the first 10 chemicals it plans to study. The list including four compounds long used as industrial solvents, degreasers, spot removers and various manufacturing applications: trichloroethylene (“TCE”). (link to our TCE page); perchloroethylene (“PCE”) (link to page with PCE); methylene chloride and carbon tetrachloride. It is no accident that these chemicals have been the subject of much toxic tort litigation brought by injured citizens, including many who have been represented by Williams Cedar attorneys.
While any effort adding to our knowledge of the dangers of these chemicals should be welcomed, we need to keep in mind that many of those dangers have long been known, and are well established in the scientific literature. Trichloroethylene, for example, has been designated by EPA as a confirmed human carcinogen, and the agency has classified PCE as a “likely carcinogen.” Citizens should be skeptical of any effort by the current EPA leadership to undo or minimize the well-studied risks of these or any of the other chemicals on EPA’s “First Ten” list.