I read with interest the article about the gag order by the judge in the case regarding trichloroethylene.

I was an industry professional selling solvent recycling systems parts cleaning equipment from 1985 to 2010. During the mid-1990s, TCE lost favor due to its environmental and health issues and was replaced with less toxic and volatile solvents and/or water-based cleaners. It was rare that an alternative couldn’t be found either with a safer solvent or new cleaning equipment and water-based detergents. Usually the cost associated with alternatives was considered justified by most management to avoid health and environmental hazards. Even the U.S. military has ceased using TCE.

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Studies support the notion that TCE is a known carcinogen, particularly of kidney cancer. It is readily absorbed into the bloodstream and also is very volatile (vaporizes into the atmosphere). It is also associated with congenital heart risks in studies of communities exposed to TCE through groundwater and, a sixfold increase in Parkinson's of workers exposed to TCE.

In the last 10 years of my career, I can’t think of a single company I worked with still using chlorinated solvents, so it comes as a surprise that Entek is. If I had a child living near or going to school near a source of TCE I would be very concerned as children’s bodies tend to be more susceptible to such chemicals.

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I don’t know Entek’s process or why it requires TCE but more than 25 years in the industry tells me that a viable alternative could probably be found if it was willing to invest the time and capital in finding one.

Fred Hughes

Corvallis 

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