The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is exercising their new authority under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the outdated (and ineffective) Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). EPA named the first ten priority chemicals for assessment and is tasked with evaluating these chemicals to ensure there is not an unreasonable risk of injury to health. In determining risk, EPA is required to consider vulnerable populations including: workers, infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly.
WEC is highlighting the chemicals in a series of blog posts with information on how to make your voice heard and tell your story about chemical exposure.
Chemical Eight of Ten:
Pigment Violet -29 (Perylene-3,4:9,10-tetracarboxydiimide)
This chemical is a red-purple dye used to coat products and is found in inks, toners and polymers. Pigment Violet-29 is used in printing and recorded media reproduction and in the manufacture of plastic products, machinery and vehicles.
Pigment Violet 29 is suspected of causing cancer and reproductive problems.
Chemical Nine of Ten: Trichloroethelene (TCE)
TCE is used in the manufacturing of refrigerants and is used as a commercial degreaser. It is also used as a spotting agent in dry cleaners, a film cleaner and to create a clear plastic protective coating.
TCE is considered a probable cause of kidney and liver cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It can also impact the ability to have a healthy child by causing heart defects in the fetus. This chemical also irritates the respiratory system and skin and causes nervous system effects including light-headedness, drowsiness, and headaches.
Chemical Ten of Ten: Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene or PERC)
Tetrachloroethylene is a nonflammable colorless liquid. Other names for tetrachloroethylene include perchloroethylene, PCE, perc, tetrachloroethene, and perchlor. Most people can smell tetrachloroethylene when it is present in the air at a level of 1 part in 1 million parts of air (1 ppm) or more.
Tetrachloroethylene or perc is used as a dry-cleaning agent and metal degreasing solvent. It is also used as a starting material for making other chemicals and products including aerosol products, solvent soaps, printing inks, adhesives, sealants, paint removers, paper coatings, leather treatments, automotive cleaners, polishes, lubricants, and silicones.
Breathing in tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness or drowsiness, headache, and incoordination. Higher levels may cause unconsciousness and even death. Exposure for longer periods to low levels of tetrachloroethylene may cause changes in mood, memory, attention, reaction time, and vision. Exposure to tetrachloroethylene might lead to a higher risk of getting bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Long-term exposure may also damage the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys; it can also cause respiratory failure, memory loss, confusion, and dry and cracked skin. If you are pregnant, long-term exposure may damage a developing fetus.
Make Your Voice Heard
EPA is soliciting public comments on these hazards chemicals. Maybe now more than ever, it’s important that we submit our stories to make known the harmful effects of these chemicals on public health.
Do you have a story about exposure to these chemicals you want to share with the EPA? There are two ways to do it:
For Worker Exposure Stories:
WEC is working with national partners, including the United Steelworkers, BlueGreen Alliance, and National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, in an effort to collect first-hand accounts from workers or unions representing workers either producing or using these chemicals.
Examples of useful submissions include: worker and union direct testimony, published studies, government data, medical and workers’ compensation records, and any other documentation that illustrates the occupational uses, exposures, and health impacts of these chemicals.
Our partners have developed an online questionnaire to collect this data. Participation in the questionnaire can be anonymous and the deadline to participate is Friday, February 24, 2017.
All Other Stories:
You can submit comments directly at regulations.gov. The deadline to submit comments directly to EPA is March 15, 2017.