Conaway & Singleton Unveil Legislation to Reduce Known Carcinogen in NJ Drinking Water

Assemblymen Herb Conaway, MD and Troy Singleton (both D- Burlington) unveiled legislation Friday that would establish safe maximum contaminant levels of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), a known carcinogen, in New Jersey’s drinking water.

“Federal and state agencies have found that TCP can cause cancer and serious health problems, but in New Jersey no safe standards have been established,” said Conaway, Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee chair. “This legislation will help correct that. When New Jerseyans turn on the tap, they should be confident that their water is safe to drink.”

Elevated levels of 1,2,3-TCP were recently brought to light by concerned Moorestown residents, who alerted the legislators to the lack of regulation. The elevated levels of TCP prompted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to recommend Moorestown Township shut down two primary township water wells earlier this month. The wells remain off-line.

Under the Conaway and Singleton measure, the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute would be required to develop and recommend a safe maximum contaminant level of less than 0.03 parts per billion (ppb) for 1,2,3-TCP in New Jersey’s water supply. The recommendations would be due within 90 days of the legislation’s enactment.

“It is unacceptable that there is no state or federal standard for this chemical in our drinking water. It’s troubling that consistent guidelines are not in place to protect residents from this potentially harmful chemical,” said Singleton. “I’m grateful to the citizens of Moorestown who brought this to light and prompted the action to shut down these wells.”

According to the DEP, 1,2,3-TCP is a potent genotoxic carcinogen. It is a man-made chemical that is used as a paint remover, industrial solvent or degreasing agent. In 2008, the DEP wrote a letter strongly urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop maximum contaminant levels for 1,2,3-TCP.