Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trichloroethylene: Brief Discussion

(From abstract)
Temple Terrace - -
   Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) are continuously exposed into the atmosphere of Earth on a global scale daily by accidents, emissions, and purposeful authorized release as well as unauthorized.  This review accounts for one location, one hazardous air pollutant and its health effects due to exposure.
   The EPA regulates companies for HAP's and other pollution agents which has led to a large reduction of release in the United states.  This review is written about the chemical Trichloroethylene (TCE). It is a non-flammable, colorless liquid. The main use is as a solvent for removing grease from metal in industry and household products.  It has application in many products.  I personally used this to clean off grease with my bare hands while working at a yogurt shop, and I did develop slight irritation.  I was told by my manager that the product was hazardous if eaten or vaporized. TCE can also be found in paint remover and adhesives. This chemical is a volatile organic compound and is found in aquifers and surface water due to manufacture use and final disposal into environment through point and non point sources. TCE can become a vapor which becomes electrostatic. "In contact with a hot surface or flames, this substance decomposes forming toxic and corrosive fumes", (lenntech, 2012). The routes of exposure to humans are inhalation and ingestion.  If a manufacturing facility uses TCE to clean the machinery, and a fire were to break out, a serious problem would be in store for firefighters and those in the surrounding area.  Ground water is easily contaminated by TCE releases.
     According to experiments with mice, inhalation RfC was given .0019 mg/m3. Oral exposure RfD was given 4.8 x 10(-4) mg/kg/day. Both candidates showed adult immunological and heart malformation [EPA]. However, toxicodynamic uncertainty has been applied because PBPK models do not account for human sensitivity. Risk units for humans: 4.1 x 10(-6) per ug/m3 and 4.6 x 10(-2) per mg/kg-day respectively. Dose response data confirmed renal cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and liver tumors in humans through epidemiological studies [Charbotel, 2006]. Finally, the EPA concluded that TCE is carcinogenic by a mutagenic mode of action for induction of kidney tumors, the target organ. In 2010, in Miami-Dade county; 29,290 on site releases of Trichloroethylene were recorded. All were authorized and conducted at Goodrich Corp. , located in Opa Locka.
     As many environmental professionals and litigators are aware, environmental hazards are displaced racially and socioeconomically in America. This is a prime example because Opa Locka is one of the poorest, most dangerous areas in the city of Miami.  Rent is low and poverty is high. Many residents are African American or Hispanic. One hypothesis that could be made is that residents who drink public water and or boil water and inhale vapors from water sources close to Goodrich may be experiencing more numerous rates of cancer than a higher income area like Coral Gables.  Environmental Justice has been used in cases like this before, such as Houston's Northwood Manor V. Browning Ferris Industries, 1979.
If knowledge of the release was not given to residents, lawsuits are possible. More Information is needed to further examine this discussion on the history of health effects and Trichloroethylene.


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