Uses Of Trichloroethylene (TCE)

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Trichloroethylene (TCE) is defined as a Priority Pollutant covered under the Clean Water Act. The chemical is an organic vapor, and is a component used in degreasing, distillation, and painting operations (Woodside, 1999). Trichloroethylene is a liquid used as a solvent, and in other compounds (Environmental Protection Agency, 2011). Annually 10 million pounds of Trichloroethylene is used to manufacture Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) (Gilbert & Heuvel, 2014). While current figures are not available, the EPA put US production of Trichloroethylene in 1991 at 321 million pounds (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). When released into the air Trichloroethylene has a 7-day half-life. Trichloroethylene is slow to evaporate from subsurface soil, and can exist for extended periods in groundwater (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). Trichloroethylene as an anesthetic was banned by the FDA in 1977 (Gilbert & Heuvel, 2014). Trichloroethylene is a non-naturally occurring (World Health Organization, 2015) “volatile organic …show more content…
Trichloroethylene can also enter groundwater, and migrate either to drinking water or into the air by vapor intrusion (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2015). In the early 1980’s Trichloroethylene was one of the chemicals used in the 328X2 career-field (Davis, 2015). The chemical was used to remove grease from high voltage cables prior to installing them. The work was often done in a partially confined space, which depending on weather conditions may or may not have included an open door for ventilation. An organization would have to be prepared to test for Trichloroethylene exposure in advance, since the chemical and its byproducts do not last long in a person’s blood or urine, and special equipment is required to detect it (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,

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