ST. PAUL — Last week, the Minnesota House approved legislation that would ban trichloroethylene (TCE), a known carcinogen. The bill (HF 2276), authored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL – White Bear Lake), prohibits the use of TCE for manufacturing purposes.
“No Minnesotan should ever experience preventable health risks,” said Rep. Wazlawik. “Thousands of people in my community fear that exposure to TCE may have increased their risk for cancer and other serious health issues. It’s time we ban TCE to protect the health and well-being of the people of Minnesota.”
TCE is an industrial solvent used to degrease metal parts or as an intermediate for producing other chemicals. It can also be found in some consumer products such as paint strippers, adhesives and spot removers.
Research has linked TCE to a range of serious health effects. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer and liver cancer. Additional evidence suggests that it can cause fetal heart defects and impact development of the immune system in early life. It can also affect the central nervous system, kidneys, liver and male reproductive system.
In January, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced that a facility in White Bear Township had been emitting high levels of TCE. The MPCA’s investigation of the manufacturing plant revealed that these emissions had been occurring since 2002.