WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft of its new toxicological review of perchloroethylene last month containing recommendations that would support additional restrictions on perc use.
In the review, David Bussard, director of the Washington division of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, said that based on the available information, perc’s classification should be changed to “likely human carcinogen” from its current status in a grey area between “possible” and “probable” carcinogen.
“This possible reclassification could impact the industry in a devastating way,” said Mary Scalco, senior vice president of the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI). “This would effectively raise the EPA’s risk assessment of the chemical, leading to tougher cleanup standards and possibly stricter worker-exposure standards.”
The assessment cites 10 laboratory animal studies that discovered inhalation and ingestion risks. While human studies found an association between perc exposure and a slight increase in the incidence of cancers, the agency admits there is no definitive, causal connection.
EPA will accept comments on the draft for 90 days before a special panel of the National Academy of Sciences peer-reviews the report. Industry representatives including the DLI and the Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance (HSIA) plan to file comments with the agency.