Senator Clinton Urges EPA To Issue Protective Standard For TCE

Date: Oct. 5, 2005
Location: Washington, DC

Senator Clinton Urges EPA To Issue Protective Standard For TCE

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today calling on them to issue a health-protective "interim standard" for trichloroethylene (TCE) vapor intrusion in order to protect the health and well-being of our communities. Endicott, Hopewell Junction and Ithaca are known to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds where TCE is also known to be present.

In addition to Senator Clinton, six other senators signed onto this letter including Senators Barbara Boxer, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Joseph Lieberman, Gordon Smith, and Ron Wyden.

[Please see attached letter]

October 5, 2005

The Honorable Stephen L. Johnson
United States Environmental Protection Agencybr> Ariel Rios Building - 1101A
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Mr. Johnson:

We are writing to urge the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish health-protective "interim standards" for vapor intrusion of trichloroethylene, better known as TCE. TCE is a widespread contaminant found in at least 325 of the 1,242 EPA-listed Superfund sites, and is known to cause cancer and damage the nervous and immune systems. Children and seniors are especially vulnerable to TCE's toxic effects.

As you are aware, the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) published a TCE Health Risk Assessment report in August 2001, which included a reassessment of existing and recent scientific studies. This report, which was peer reviewed and lauded by the EPA's own Science Advisory Board, found that TCE is considerably more harmful to human health than previously believed and proposed to increase protections against TCE. The EPA incorporated the Assessment's findings into its Draft Guidance for Evaluating the Vapor Intrusion to Indoor Air in November 2002. Unfortunately, the EPA appears to have abandoned the 2002 TCE Vapor Intrusion Guidance recommendations. Instead, the EPA is in the process of again reevaluating TCE's toxicity through the National Academies of Science, which may take years.

Delaying a national standard is a major constraint in evaluating potential health concerns at toxic waste sites. Some current federal and state TCE standards are more than two orders of magnitude less protective than the EPA's 2001 reassessment concluded was needed to protect human health. Today, thousands of Americans may be exposed to unhealthful levels of TCE.

We, therefore, strongly urge the EPA to adopt health-protective "interim standards," or provisional screening levels set forth in the 2002 Draft Guidance and use technologies that detect TCE at such levels. The EPA should protect public health by eliminating TCE resulting from vapor intrusion in homes, as field experience suggests that the costs of mitigation and monitoring are comparable.

TCE is a widespread pollutant in the United States and vapor intrusion is known to be a significant pathway of exposure. Guidelines have been established to address this important environmental and health problem. The EPA needs to act now to establish safe, protective "interim standards" in order to ensure the health and safety of our children and our communities.

Thank you very much for your attention in this matter. We look forward to your response and action.


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Barbara Boxer
Christopher J. Dodd
Frank Lautenberg
Joseph I. Lieberman
Gordon Smith
Ron Wyden