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Marine mechanics affected by California law

25 Feb 2011 | Erin Adams

In 2008, California increased their regulatory control by prohibiting use of the carcinogenic chemical Perchloroethylene, also known as PERC, for all automotive maintenance. This law impacts how Combat Center mechanics do business.

Historically, mechanics have used solvents containing PERC for regular automotive maintenance, known as Electro-Safe, even though these aerosol solvents were labeled as an energized electronic cleaner. This new regulation now stipulates that PERC can only be used on energized electronic equipment. All other uses, including automotive maintenance, must find an alternative.

PERC is so effective as a solvent, the electronics, dry cleaning and carpet cleaning industries have all benefitted from using it. However, over the years, the health effects from exposure of this chemical have become too great to ignore.

Exposure to PERC is believed to increase mortality, cause birth defects and cause numerous types of cancer. PERC not only contaminates our lungs, it finds its way into our bodies by contaminating our drinking water and our food supplies.

Because of the harmful nature of this chemical and the increased regulatory requirements, it is imperative PERC products be replaced with safer alternative products. Only qualified users will be authorized to purchase and use PERC products aboard the Combat Center.

To become a qualified user of a product containing PERC, the usage of the product must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Combat Center’s air resources manager. No automotive or general maintenance application will be approved.

Many safer alternatives to PERC solvents have been identified and are available at the GSA Grainger Store. They are non-chlorinated solvent-based products and packaged in aerosol and liquid forms. The alternative non-chlorinated products are just as effective, similar in price and reduce human exposure to carcinogens, as well as reduce ground water and environmental contamination.

For more information, or to become a qualified user of a product containing PERC, contact the Air Resources Office at 760-830-7726.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms