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EPA targets dry cleaning chemical under new safety law

EPA targets dry cleaning chemical under new safety law

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the first chemical it wants to ban under a new chemical safety law.

Regulators on Wednesday said they are proposing a ban on trichloroethylene (TCE), a dry cleaning chemical, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, a law Congress greatly expanded this year.

The EPA is seeking a ban on the manufacturing, importation, processing and distribution of TCE, which is used in aerosol degreasing and spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.

The agency said it identified health risks to workers and consumers during a 2014 assessment of the chemical. Officials said banning it — the first time “in a generation” the agency has been able to restrict chemicals already in use — would be good for public health.

“Once finalized, today’s action will help protect consumers and workers from cancer and other serious health risks when they are exposed to aerosol degreasing, and when dry cleaners use spotting agents,” Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a statement.

“I am confident that the new authority Congress has given us is exactly what we need to finally address these important issues.”

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