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Rare Cancers In Franklin Spur Parents To Support TCE Ban, Head To Washington

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health
Kari Rhineheart and Stacie Davidson are part of the group If It Was Your Child. (Steve Burns/WTIU)
Kari Rhineheart and Stacie Davidson are part of the group If It Was Your Child. (Steve Burns/WTIU)

The Environmental Protection Agency was ready to ban some uses of the cancer-causing chemical TCE or trichloroethylene, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt put that effort on hold last year.

Kari Rhinehart lost her daughter Emma Grace to a rare brain tumor four years ago. Now she and Stacie Davidson — whose stepson Zane is in remission from a rare form of leukemia — are part of the group, If It Was Your Child.

For about three years, it’s been working to find the cause of these rare blood and brain cancers in Franklin. Davidson says TCE and similar chemicals could be the cause, so this ban needs to move forward.

“It is a known carcinogen and if we don’t do that now, it could take up to five years for us to come around again to get it banned again,” she says.

TCE is used to degrease metal and to make other chemicals like refrigerants. It’s just one of the chemicals found at the Amphenol industrial site in Franklin. High levels of it were also discovered at some Franklin homes during a recent round of testing by the Edison Wetlands Association.

Two elementary schools in Franklin have been tested for TCE and other chemicals. The EPA says it will also do sampling at the Amphenol site.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.