Congress Must Protect People from Toxic Chemicals Known to Cause Harm: Tricholoroethylene (TCE)

Fact Sheet
August 11, 2010

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it was intended to ensure that chemicals are safe throughout their lifecycle, from manufacture to use and disposal. But weaknesses in the law have left the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unable to act on known health dangers. Other laws, such as those setting air, water, and workplace safety standards, do not adequately regulate exposure to most chemicals, nor do they address the hazards a chemical may pose over its entire lifecycle. New legislation is needed to rapidly reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), a cancer-causing chemical used in many industries and consumer products—including rug cleaners and spot removers. TCE exposure can pose serious health risks but exposure during pregnancy is especially worrisome as it has been associated with low birth weight and multiple types of birth defects.