Archives for posts with tag: TCE

From Los Angeles Times:

One of the most widespread groundwater contaminants in the nation is more dangerous to humans than earlier thought, a federal agency has determined, in a decision that could raise the cost of cleanups nationwide, including large areas of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

The final risk assessment for trichloroethylene by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the widely used industrial solvent causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. That lays the groundwork to reevaluate the federal drinking-water standard for the contaminant: 5 parts per billion in water, and 1 microgram per cubic meter in air, officials said.

Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA’s office of research and development, said toxicity values for TCE reported in the risk assessment released this week may be used to establish new cleanup strategies at 761 Superfund sites, as well as in aquifers supplying drinking water to millions of residents in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.

The risk assessment had been subject to more than a decade of delays. A 2001 draft assessment that suggested a strong link between TCE and cancer was opposed by the Defense Department, the Energy Department and NASA.

The Pentagon had demanded greater proof that industrial substances cause cancer before raising cleanup costs at more than 1,000 polluted sites.

“This risk assessment is a big deal because it will strengthen protections for people who live and work above TCE plumes — and there are a lot of them — and could force serious rethinking about the extent of cleanup efforts,” said Lenny Siegal, executive director of the Mountain View, Calif.-based Center for Public Environmental Oversight, which posted a letter Monday signed by activists across the country, demanding that the final risk assessment be released. It was released Wednesday.

Jennifer Sass, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the decision “launches new arguments about what the safety standards should be. In the meantime, people impacted by this pollution can now link their disease to it in litigation with more confidence because the science is no longer in dispute. TCE causes cancer.”

TCE has been discovered in nearly every state but in none more widely than California. Military bases including Camp Pendleton and Edwards Air Force Base have Superfund sites with TCE contamination.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area overlies a checkerboard of underground plumes of TCE, and has high ambient levels of the chemical in the air. More than 30 square miles of the San Gabriel Valley lie in one of four Superfund sites that contain TCE. The San Fernando Valley overlies a large plume grouped into three separate Superfund sites. The former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Orange County sits over a plume several miles long.


Photo by Jeremy Brooks.

From Bergen County Record:

Fearful that pollution from a nearby DuPont factory is harming their health and property values, a growing number of Pompton Lakes residents want the company to guarantee the price of their homes — or buy them out.

“People feel trapped. They can’t sell without disclosing the contamination, they still have to pay high taxes. What would draw people to buy here?” said Regina Sisco, who lives in the contaminated area.

The cancer-causing solvents TCE and PCE that DuPont once used at its Pompton Lakes munitions facility have contaminated the groundwater underneath 450 homes. Those solvents are vaporizing up through the soil into some houses.

DuPont has been installing vapor mitigation systems on the homes, and the company will test a possible cleanup treatment for the groundwater in several months. A full cleanup won’t take place for years.

Some residents, alarmed by a state health study that found elevated cancer rates among neighborhood residents, want to get out — and they want DuPont to pay.

“A lot of people would be interested because we don’t see an end to this in our lifetimes,” said Sisco, a co-founder of Pompton Lakes Residents for Environmental Integrity. “I just don’t have it in me. I just want out.”

More . . .

Charlotte Observer: Calendar exposes cases of breast cancer in men at Camp Lejeune.

Thirteen men who suffer from breast cancer appear in a new calendar. All served or lived on the Marine base at Camp Lejeune. All believe their cancer can be traced to the decades in which drinking water contaminated with benzene, TCE, and other poisons poured from the base’s taps. More . . .


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