Monday, October 31, 2011

Other Toxic Substances - TCE: Despite Delays and Threats, EPA Finally Classifies TCE as a Cancer-Causing Chemical

The EPA’s long-anticipated assessment, released on Sept. 28, formally classified TCE as a known human carcinogen. Specifically, the report found that exposure to TCE can lead to kidney and liver cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma; to a lesser extent, it may also be linked to bladder, esophageal, prostate, cervical, and breast cancers, as well as leukemia. TCE easily evaporates from water into the air and contaminates groundwater and land. According to the agency’s findings, any route of exposure can be carcinogenic to humans.

The greatest use of TCE has been as a degreaser for metal parts, including aircraft. The chemical is also found in household products, such as paint removers, glues, correction fluid, electronic equipment cleaners, rust removers, adhesives, and gun-cleaning fluids. Until 1977, TCE was even used as a general anesthetic, and until the 1980s, it was used in pharmaceuticals and food. Given the widespread usage, it is not surprising that TCE is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment and is often found among the pollutants at Superfund sites, military bases, and industrial sites across the country.

The victims from Camp Lejeune have created a website called The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten to inform everyone about the betrayal of trust that occurred at the base.

TCE exposure victims from Beaverton, OR, established a nonprofit organization called Victims of TCE Exposure. A Lasting Legacy to assist other victims and fight the TCE contamination from a View-Master plant.

For parents of elementary school children in the North Bronx, New York City, the assessment is bone-chilling. The Bronx New School was closed in August after tests showed that the building was contaminated at levels far in excess of TCE limits, determined by state health department standards. The industrial plant that previously occupied the school building used TCE.

No comments: