Gov. Cuomo signs legislation banning ‘highly toxic chemical’ TCE


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks during a ceremony in New York on Jan. 24, 2019. (AP / Mark Lennihan)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Gov. Cuomo signed legislation banning the most harmful uses of trichloroethylene, or TCE – a toxic chemical used in industrial and commercial processes. The legislation bans TCE’s use as an intermediate chemical in the production of other chemicals, a vapor degreaser, a refrigerant, an extraction solvent, or in any other manufacturing or industrial cleaning process or use.

“TCE is a highly toxic chemical that’s been proven harmful for both humans and the environment, and restricting its use helps two causes for the price of one,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation will protect New Yorkers from a known carcinogen that has been linked to cancer, developmental disorders and other conditions while protecting our water and air from contamination.”

TCE is typically used as an industrial cleaning and degreasing agent in manufacturing processes. It can enter the body through water, air, food and soil. It easily evaporates into the atmosphere and enters groundwater. 

“The science is clear: TCE is dangerous, causing cancer and fetal heart defects — and poses a grave danger to human health,” Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said. “Our water is too important to be jeopardized, and our children are too precious to be sold out to reckless polluters. By signing this legislation into law, our State is taking bold action under Governor Cuomo’s leadership to prioritize the health of all our communities — from Buffalo to Bethpage.”

On Dec. 21, Governor Cuomo announced an agreement in principle with the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman to advance the Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive plan to contain and clean up the groundwater plume associated with the Northrop Grumman Bethpage Facility and Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant sites in the town of Oyster Bay in Bethpage, Nassau County. The plume contains a variety of chemicals including TCE.

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