Minnesota is close to banning Trichlorethylene (TCE) and becoming the first state to protect citizens from this carcinogen that has been released into the environment throughout MN, in excessive levels.
The most recent TCE exposure was announced in February. Water Gremlin exposed White Bear area citizens to excessive levels for 17 years. After repeated requests by the MPCA for documentation, the March 1 Stipulation Agreement revealed they emitted 1079.236 tons of TCE over 17 years – far exceeding the total permit level of 10 tons per year (or 170 tons over 17 years).
Many claim Water Gremlin’s activities are the exception; the majority of permit holders self-regulate appropriately. However, this extreme instance calls attention to a larger issue.
- Over 80 companies have permits for TCE.
- Other companies use TCE at low levels without needing permits.
- TCE is a carcinogen and exposure is linked to other diseases.
- Harmful levels of TCE have been found in MN water, soil and air, including Minneapolis, Bayport, Edina, Fridley and St. Louis Park.
When TCE is in the soil and water, the risks to people expand. In the soil it vaporizes and enters homes through basement floors, cracks and walls. In water supplies, especially private and unmonitored wells, it compromises the safety of water.
While citizens have tried to make their voices heard after local exposure issues are announced, our voice has not been heard – until this year. The Minnesota House and Senate have passed bipartisan bills to phase out the use of TCE.
However, the bills are tied up in conference committee and, it’s possible Governor Walz won’t be able to decide if Minnesota should be the first state in the nation to ban the use of TCE.
Our ask of you:
1) Research TCE use and pollution in Minnesota.
2) Look at the TCE issue in Indiana and the cancer clusters attributed to pollution. Other states with prominent TCE pollution cases include California and Massachusetts.
3) Know the EPA is starting investigations on banning TCE nationally.
4) Ask legislatures to drive this bill home and have Minnesota lead the nation.
This is critical to help save lives from the long-term health impacts TCE has on citizens, including the most vulnerable, our children.