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Department of Defense TCE Connection

Summary Report from Office of Deputy Secretary for Defense - Emerging Contaminants

Under Secretary of Defense

EPA Region 1 Raises TCE Concern to EC

  • Several small- to medium-sized enterprises using TCE to clean metal belt buckles for DoD in New England
  • May be indicative of similar applications for DoD subcontractors throughout the country

EC Directorate Responds

  • Working to identify relevant stock/part numbers, standards and specifications, involving Defense Logistics Agency, Army’s Institute of Heraldry and Natick’s Research, Development & Engineering Center
  • Obtaining results of performance tests for replacement (water-based) cleaners from UMass Lab under state’s Toxic Use Reduction program; some candidate chemicals identified as successful

Findings Thus Far

  • No apparent reference to the specified use of TCE for buckle cleaning
  • Other DoD uniform insignia also being processed by the same companies
  • Chemical costs (as compared to TCE) may not be an issue
  • Equipment costs (estimated at $10,000-$50,000) are an issue
  • Long return-on-investment for smaller companies (ROI > 2 years)
  • Industry-wide process change may require updating DoD policy and communicating this position to contractors and subcontractors alike