Minnesota to become first state to ban industrial solvent TCE

Minnesota would be the first state to ban the solvent, which has been linked to birth defects and cancer.
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Minnesota is set to become the first state to ban the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, which has been linked to birth defects and cancer.

Following Senate approval, the Minnesota House passed the bill Wednesday with a 117 to 17 vote. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign it into law, which would ban companies from using TCE by June 2022, with some exceptions.

In recent years, TCE contamination has been verified in White Bear Lake and Minneapolis’ Como neighborhood. WCCO has a map of sites using TCE here.

Last year, Water Gremlin agreed to pay $7 million after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found it was emitting TCE levels higher than state guidelines permit.

The MPCA warned that people living within a mile of the White Bear Township-based factory could have been exposed to harmful levels of TCE.

Impacts of exposure varies depending on how long someone was exposed and how high the levels were. TCE has been linked with damaging the immune system, central nervous and reproductive systems, liver and kidneys. It can also affect fetal development, causing birth defects.

“No Minnesotan should experience preventable health risks due to exposure to toxic chemicals,” said state Rep. Ami Wazlawik, DFL-White Bear Township, who authored the bill.

"Today, after months of hard work with community members, we were able to pass a strong TCE ban with bipartisan support. I’m grateful to the White Bear Area Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group who fought tirelessly to make this bill possible. Thanks to their efforts, Minnesotans will no longer be exposed to TCE."

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