California Considers Designating TCE as Known to Cause Reproductive Harm

Posted: 04/30/2013  browse the blog archive

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has requested relevant information on whether the chemical Trichloroethylene (TCE) meets the criteria for listing as a chemical known to the State to cause reproductive harm.  This request for relevant information is being proposed under Health and Safety Code section 25349.8)b) and Title 27, Cal. Code of Regs. Section 25306.

TCE must be listed under Proposition 65 as a chemical known the State to cause reproductive harm if an authoritative body formally identifies TCE as causing reproductive toxicity and the evidence considered by the authoritative body meets the sufficiency criteria contained in the regulations, which involve studies in humans or experimental animals showing a correlation between the chemical and adverse effects to the reproductive system. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) is an authoritative body designated for the identification of chemicals causing reproductive toxicity.  A 2011 study performed by the U.S. EPA identified TCE as causing male reproductive and developmental toxicity.

OEHHA is now requesting additional relevant information to determine whether TCE meets the criteria for being listed as a reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65.  If it is determined that the evidence considered by the U.S. EPA in the 2011 study meets the sufficiency criteria for listing a chemical under Proposition 65, then OEHHA will proceed with the formal listing process by publishing a Notice of Intent to List TCE as a reproductive toxicant. If it is added to the list, manufacturers will have one year to comply with the requirement to provide health hazard warnings to consumers.

TCE is a clear, non-flammable liquid widely used as a solvent in industrial degreasing of metals, with a secondary solvent use in adhesive paint and lubricants.

The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers who, acting in the public interest, commence actions against businesses offering products for sale in California that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65. Citizen enforcers bringing Proposition 65 actions in the public interest may obtain a Court Judgment imposing civil penalties, an injunction requiring reformulation of products, and/or provision of health hazard warnings. The Chanler Group has represented citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 for more than twenty years.