TCE Listed as a Human Carcinogen

Sep 29th, 2011 | By | Category: Environmental Management, Health and Safety, Soil and Groundwater

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA today released the final health assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE) to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database. The final assessment characterizes TCE as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard.

According to the EPA, this assessment will allow for a better understanding of the risks posed to communities from exposure to TCE in soil, water, and air. It will provide federal, state, local, and other policymakers with the latest scientific information to make decisions about cleanup and other actions to protect people’s health.

About TCE

TCE is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment. It is a volatile chemical and a widely used chlorinated solvent. The movement of TCE, which is frequently found at Superfund sites, from contaminated groundwater and soil into the indoor air of overlying buildings is of serious concern. The EPA already has drinking water standards for TCE and standards for cleaning up TCE at Superfund sites across the country.

Implications of the TCE Listing

TCE toxicity values as reported in the assessment will be considered in

  • Establishing cleanup methods at the 761 Superfund sites where TCE has been identified as a contaminant
  • Understanding the risk from vapor intrusion as TCE vapors move from contaminated soil and groundwater into the indoor air of overlying buildings
  • Revising EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level for TCE in drinking water
  • Developing appropriate regulatory standards limiting the atmospheric emissions of TCE, a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act

This assessment has undergone several levels of peer review, including agency review, interagency review, public comment, external peer review by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board in January 2011, and a scientific consultation review in 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. Comments from all reviewers were addressed in the final assessment.

Photograph: Laser Game by Thomas Boulvin, Binche, Hainaut, Belgium.

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One Comment to “TCE Listed as a Human Carcinogen”

  1. JIm Cole says:

    TCE and PCE are not uncommon constituents in the soil and groundwater at commercial sites in industrialized areas. It just been over the last few years that the potential for vapor intrusion from TCE and PCE are cause for great concern at commercial sites in the vicinity of a release.

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