What is the EPA waiting for?

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

To the Editor:

Thanks to the 2016 update of U.S. chemical policy, the EPA (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 is responsible for at least 50 reported deaths since the 1980’s. 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?

J.C. Honeycutt
Hertford, N.C.