Stand Up to Dow and Shell: Help Get Cancer-Causing Pesticides Out of California’s Drinking Water!

For decades, Dow Chemical and Shell Oil produced chemical fumigant pesticides containing 1,2,3-TCP, an extremely potent carcinogen, that leached into groundwater throughout California. These companies recklessly and knowingly poisoned the drinking water supply of millions of Californians, many of whom live in low-income farming communities.

Dow and Shell were fully aware of the human health hazards of TCP and the likelihood of groundwater contamination. Yet they continued using TCP – an unnecessary byproduct that actually made their products less effective. Instead of properly disposing of TCP as hazardous waste, Dow and Shell saved millions of dollars a year by hiding it in their pesticides.

TCP has been off the market for decades, but remains a completely unregulated contaminant. There is no legal limit for the level of TCP in drinking water and no requirement for utilities to remove the chemical before it reaches households. Dozens of California communities are suing Dow and Shell, but without a legal limit it's harder for them to make the case for how much money they need to install expensive filtration systems that will clean up their water.

Thanks to the hard work of community activists, that could be about to change. This month, California’s State Water Resources Control Board is expected to set a legal limit for TCP in drinking water. This would require local utilities to begin testing for TCP, and would help communities seeking to recoup the cleanup and health costs of TCP in their tap water.

Community Water Center, Clean Water Action and EWG have joined forces to push the board to set a drinking water standard of 5 parts per trillion, the lowest level current testing technology can reliably detect.

Please join us and sign to ask the State Water Resources Control Board to protect Californians from TCP in drinking water.

Dear Chair Marcus and Members of the State Water Board,

No one should drink water tainted with cancer-causing chemicals. That is why I support establishing a legal limit for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) in drinking water at the detection limit of 5 parts per trillion (ppt).

Because it can cause cancer at very low levels, the public health goal for TCP is 0.7 ppt, one of the lowest the state has set for a drinking water contaminant. As you know, the state is required to establish drinking water standards as close to the public health goal as is economically and technically feasible. In the vast majority of TCP cases, there are responsible parties that courts have indicated can and should pay for water treatment, so this health-protective standard is both feasible and appropriate.

A 5 ppt standard for TCP will protect millions of Californians and affirm the state’s commitment to the human right to water. Please move as quickly as possible to enact this regulation.

Yours sincerely,