Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

Protecting Californians from Cancer-Causing Water Contaminant “1,2,3-TCP”

We’re thrilled that State Water Board staff just announced their preliminary recommendation to set the most health-protective legal limit for the pesticide byproduct 1,2,3-TCP in drinking water! CWC's 1,2,3-TCP campaign team has been advocating and educating residents tirelessly to ensure the new drinking water standard adequately protects public health, so we were very enthusiastic to hear that the Board is prioritizing setting a drinking water standard that will help protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians who currently drink water contaminated by the dangerous carcinogen 1,2,3-TCP.

BUT we need your help to make sure the Board adopts this recommendation and not a weaker standard. Please take action by telling the State Water Board you support their preliminary recommendation of the most health protective drinking water standard for TCP -- 5 parts per trillion!

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CWC staff and residents from the San Joaquin Valley showed up at the Board’s first public workshops in Sacramento, Bakersfield, and Fresno, and spoke in strong support of setting the MCL for 1,2,3-TCP at 5 ppt to protect community health.

At the Sacramento meeting, CWC's Asha Kreiling testified in strong support of the board's preliminary recommendation of 5 ppt and reminded the Board of the impacts and concerns faced by small, rural communities in the Valley dealing with this cancer-causing contaminant. She urged Board members to ensure that the MCL they adopt next year is ultimately set at 5 ppt. Our allies, including Clean Water Action, Pesticide Action Network, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and Sierra Club of California, reiterated the urgency and importance of setting the MCL at the most health-protective level, and stressed that costs to treat this so-called "garbage chemical" should be borne by the responsible parties, Shell Oil and Dow Chemical, not local water systems nor their ratepayers.

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At the Valley workshops in Bakersfield and Fresno, residents and local water board members turned out to express their support for the preliminary recommendation, and share concerns and emotional stories about high rates of cancer and illness in their communities where 1,2,3-TCP is present. Additionally, several media stories, including an op-ed by our very own Jerry Tinoco, were published in the past few weeks drawing significant attention to this important issue.

These past few weeks show the progress we've made toward securing a strong, health-protective MCL for the toxic drinking water contaminant 1,2,3-TCP, but this is just the beginning! While the State Water Board has made public health a priority with their preliminary recommendation, we expect push-back from the polluters who are responsible for cleaning up this contaminant, so we still have work our work cut out in Sacramento and in our impacted communities.

We expect the formal comment period -- when we will really need your support with letters, petitions, and public testimony! -- to begin this fall. That would put California on track to adopt the MCL in Spring 2017. Stay tuned for more updates, and take action for health if you haven't already!  

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