Pushing for stricter TCE standards

By Michelle Costanza

Pushing for stricter TCE standards

February 1, 2014 Updated Feb 1, 2014 at 1:03 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Continued concern for high levels of the known carcinogen TCE has prompted Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo to fight for higher standards.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released their findings from a study examining the effects of exposure to tricholoroethylene (TCE), focusing on cancer rates among former IBM workers.

The results did not bring peace to everyone's mind.

IBM properties affected with TCE were cleaned up years ago, and ventilation systems were installed. But when most of the work was done in 2003, the protective guideline for human exposure was changed -- from 0.22 mcg/m3 to 5.0 mcg/m3 -- allowing people to be exposed to higher levels of TCE in the workplace.

"I'm concerned as new studies have come out which should persuade the Department of Health to put in a more protective standard," said Lupardo, D-Endwell.

Lupardo noted that New York's standards are more lax than many other states, and in the interest of health, they need to be changed.

"The detection level upon where a ventilator system would need to be put in isn't protective. We're worried about new areas in our community but also several legacy areas around the state," said Lupardo.

Despite expected pressure from the chemical industry, Lupardo is submitted a piece of legislation to the Commissioner of Health to tighten standards.

Lupardo said if it passes, it will help put an end to unsafe levels of TCE in New York.

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