While trichloroethylene (TCE) is a very effective and inexpensive solvent in industrial applications, it's also extremely hazardous to human health. TCE is so dangerous that its use was banned in food and cosmetic products, and the Environmental Protection Agency considered banning its use entirely. However, the ban never occurred, and the use of TCE is still very common.
Companies are required to treat TCE as hazardous waste, so they need to take care when disposing of it. However, sometimes companies are negligent in the way that they handle this dangerous substance. TCE is soluble in water, so TCE spills quickly flow into the local water table. Unfortunately, it can flow from there to the groundwater and soil that surrounds your home, causing a health hazard. To learn more about the health hazards that TCE poses and what you should do if you think you've been exposed, read on.
What Are the Symptoms of TCE Poisoning?
TCE is a GABAA receptor positive modulator, like alcohol and barbiturates, and its effects are quite similar. Short-term exposure to TCE can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. At higher doses, you may become uncoordinated and find it difficult to walk. Extremely high doses can lead to coma or death.
TCE is a carcinogen, so long-term exposure can lead to cancer. Long-term exposure can also lead to liver failure or kidney failure. When a pregnant woman is exposed to TCE, it can lead to a miscarriage, premature birth, or birth defects.
How Are Homeowners Exposed to It?
The most common way that homeowners are exposed to TCE is through well water. When high levels of TCE are present in the groundwater surrounding the well, it will naturally be pulled into the well and into the water that you drink. You may experience the effects of TCE whenever you drink water from your tap. In addition, it vaporizes very easily. Whenever you take a shower or bath with contaminated well water, you may inhale the vaporized TCE in the air—this means you don't even have to drink your well water to experience symptoms.
If you have children that play outside often, they may experience the symptoms of TCE poisoning. In a contaminated area, it is often found in large quantities in the layer just underneath the surface of the soil. The TCE on the topmost layer of soil will vaporize and escape, but the TCE underneath is trapped. When children play outside, they can disturb the soil and release it into the air.
What Should You Do if You Think Your Home Is Contaminated?
If you believe that you have been suffering from the symptoms of TCE toxicity, contact a personal injury lawyer specializing in toxic chemical exposure. TCE is a common pollutant, and it can cause serious health problems when it becomes concentrated in the soil and groundwater near your home.
When a polluter near your home has been negligent in the way that they handle TCE, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries that you suffer as a result. For example, you may be able to have your medical bills paid for conditions caused by TCE exposure or receive money to have the carcinogen in your groundwater and soil removed. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.