You are on page 1of 55


Why Should You Care?

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment and it can cause cancer. It is a volatile hydrocarbon chemical and is a widely used chlorine containing solvent. TCE in the U.S. has been identified in various degreasing operations, silk screening, taxidermy, and electronic cleaning. When it comes to groundwater pollution by manmade chemicals, TCE is the single most common industrial chemical found in US groundwater which has been reported in 761 Superfund sites (60%) and over 250 Toxic Release Inventory facilities in 2009. Just one 55 gallon drum of TCE can contaminate 11 billion gallons of water above the 5 ppb drinking water standard. TCE is commonly found leaking near dry cleaners, waste dumps and military bases and has spread through communities across the US. Indiscriminate (and often illegal) dumping has allowed it to inevitably contaminate our homes, our schools and our workplaces.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a survey of various industries from 1981 to 1983 and estimated that approximately 401,000 U.S. employees in 23,225 plants were potentially exposed to TCE each year. The following occupations have increased likelihood of TCE exposure: dry cleaners, mechanics, oil processors, printers, resin workers, rubber cementers, shoemakers, textile and fabric cleaners, varnish workers, and workers reducing nicotine in tobacco. It is most often used as a cleaning solvent or degreaser, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. TCE pollution has been discovered in nearly every state, but in California it is the most widespread. Military bases including Camp Pendleton and Edwards Air Force Base have Superfund sites with TCE contamination. According to the LA Times, 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. The public can be exposed to TCE in several ways, including by showering in warm, contaminated water and by breathing air in homes where TCE vapors have intruded from the soil. TCE's movement from contaminated groundwater and soil into the indoor air of overlying buildings is a major concern. The Department of Defense has about 1,400 military properties nationwide that are contaminated with trichloroethylene. Twenty three sites in the Energy Department's nuclear weapons complex including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area, and NASA centers, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Caada Flintridge

are reported to have TCE contamination. The U.S. military has virtually eliminated its use of the chemical, purchasing only 11 gallons in 2005 compared to millions of gallons in past decades. Trichloroethylene as a cleaning solvent was also used to clean military weapons during the Gulf War. There are veterans reports associating exposure to this solvent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], and also with a neurologic syndrome resembling Parkinson's disease. An international study of twins published in Nov 2011 has found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene. The study found a lag time of up to 40 years between exposure to TCE and the onset of Parkinson's.

TCE rapidly crosses the placenta in both humans and animals, and can accumulate in the fetus. Recent studies in laboratory animals and observations in human populations suggest that exposure to trichloroethylene might be associated with congenital heart defects. Research has shown that inhalants - particularly volatile solvents (like TCE), gases, and aerosols - are often among the first drugs that young children use. One national survey indicates that about 3.0 percent of U.S. children have tried inhalants by the time they reach fourth grade. About 17% of US youth has ever tried to get high from inhaled solvents, including TCE. National surveys

indicate that more than 22.9 million Americans have abused inhalants at least once in their lives. Inhalant abuse can become chronic and extend into adulthood. Sudden death due to TCE abuse has been reported. Although the legal limit for TCE in drinking water is 5 ppb, About 100 tons of it is used annually in the U.S. as of 2006. Historically, production of TCE increased rapidly in the US from just over 260,000 lbs. (130 tons) in 1981 to 320 million lbs. (160,000 tons) in 1991. TCE releases into the environment have ranged from 55.6 million pounds in 1987 down to 7.2 million pounds in 2003. One plastics manufacturing site in Indiana emitted more than 1 million pounds of TCE into the air in 2000 which is now down to a mere 250,000 pounds per year.

Proven and Probable Carcinogens

In September 2011, the EPA reclassified TCE as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard. The EPA final risk assessment for trichloroethylene found that the industrial solvent TCE causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for TCE in our public water supplies currently stands at 5 parts per billion. The MCL is likely to be lowered due to these new findings in the final risk assessment.

Sources and Occurrence

It is most often used as a cleaning solvent or degreaser but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. In Europe Trichloroethylene is called trichloroethene and this name is frequently found in the scientific literature. Industrial abbreviations include TCE, trichlor, Trike, Tricky and tri. It is a clear non-flammable liquid with a sweet smell. Perhaps the greatest use of TCE has been as a degreaser for metal parts. It has been sold under a variety of trade names. Under the trade names Trimar and Trilene, trichloroethylene was used as a volatile anesthetic and as an inhaled obstetrical analgesic in millions of patients until alternatives were introduced in the late 1950s. TCE was used in place of the earlier anesthetics chloroform and ether in the 1940s, but was itself replaced in the 1950s by the newer halothane, which allowed much faster induction and recovery times. TCE use was soon found to promote cardiac arrhythmias, and prolonged neurologic dysfunction when used with soda lime. The use of trichloroethylene in the food and pharmaceutical industries has been banned in much of the world since the 1970s. Fetal toxicity, adult hepatotoxicity and concerns for carcinogenic potential of TCE led to its abandonment as an anesthetic in the 1980s.

Pollution History
The first known report of TCE in groundwater was given in 1949 by two English public chemists who described two separate instances of well contamination by industrial releases of TCE. Based on available federal and state surveys, between 9% to 34% of the drinking water supply sources tested in the U.S. may have some TCE contamination, though EPA has reported that most water supplies are in compliance with the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 ppb. In addition, a growing concern in recent years at sites with TCE contamination in soil or groundwater has been vapor intrusion in buildings, which has resulted in indoor air exposures. TCE has also been used in the United States to clean kerosene-fueled rocket engines and caused major groundwater contamination. TCE was especially a problem at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (Rocket Dyne) in the Simi Valley in California. In 1999, scientists at Lawrence Livermore Labs in San Francisco analyzed more than 55 TCE plumes which had contaminated groundwater in the U. S (including Lawrence Livermore Labs). They concluded that pore water velocity was the major factor determining plume length.

RCA Taiwan
For over twenty years of operation, the US-based multinational Radio Company of America (RCA) had been pouring toxic wastewater into a well in its Taoyuan, Taiwan facility. The pollution from the plant was not revealed until 1994, when former workers brought it to light. Investigation by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration confirmed that RCA had been dumping chlorinated organic solvents into a secret well and caused contamination to the soil and groundwater surrounding the plant site. High levels of TCE and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) can be found in groundwater drawn as far as two kilometers from the site. An organization of former RCA employees reports 1375 cancer cases, 216 cancer deaths, and 102 cases of various tumors among its members.

Breathing small amounts may cause headaches, lung irritation, dizziness, poor coordination, and difficulty concentrating. Breathing large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause impaired heart function, unconsciousness, and death. Cranial nerve dysfunction (especially the fifth cranial nerve) was not uncommon when TCE anesthesia was given using CO2 absorbing systems. These nerve deficits could last for months. Occasionally facial numbness was permanent. The symptoms of acute non-medical exposure are similar to those of alcohol intoxication, beginning with confusion and progressing with increasing exposure to unconsciousness. Respiratory and circulatory depression can result in death. Drinking large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause nausea, liver damage, unconsciousness, impaired heart function, or death. Skin contact with trichloroethylene for short periods may cause skin rashes.

When inhaled, trichloroethylene produces central nervous system depression resulting in general anesthesia. Beyond the effects to the central nervous system, workplace exposure to trichloroethylene has been associated with toxic effects in the liver and kidney.

In a study of 73 workers employed from one month to 15 years in various industrial cleaning and degreasing operations using TCE, complaints due to chronic exposure included: a reduced number of word associations, ataxia, - ;a lack of coordination and muscle movements decreased appetite, headache, short-term memory loss, sleep disturbances, and vertigo- dizziness Drinking small amounts of trichloroethylene for long periods may cause liver and kidney damage, impaired immune system function, and impaired fetal development in pregnant women, although the extent of some of these effects is not yet clear. One study found neurobehavioral deficits from exposures to drinking water contaminated with TCE. Other studies found links to childhood leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma Recent studies in laboratory animals and observations in human populations suggest that exposure to trichloroethylene might be associated with congenital heart defects. There are reports on the Gulf War veterans associating exposure to this solvent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and also with a neurologic syndrome resembling Parkinson's disease. An international study published in 2011 has found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene. The study found a lag time of up to 40 years between exposure to TCE and the onset of Parkinson's. According to WEBMD, TCE Chemical exposure has been reported to trigger Lupus. Suspected chemical toxins include trichloroethylene in well water.

Diagnosis and Testing

The most convenient biologic indicators of TCE exposure are the urinary metabolites, trichloroethanol and trichloroacetic acid. However, these metabolites are not specific to TCE. If you have recently been exposed to trichloroethylene, it can be detected in your breath, blood, or urine. The breath test, if it is performed soon after exposure, can tell if you have been exposed to even a small amount of trichloroethylene. Exposure to larger amounts is assessed by blood and urine tests, which can detect trichloroethylene and many of its breakdown products for up to a week after exposure. However, exposure to other similar chemicals can produce the same breakdown products, so their detection is not absolute proof of exposure to trichloroethylene. This test isn't available at most doctors' offices, but can be done at special laboratories that have the right equipment.

There is no antidote for TCE poisoning. Treatment consists of support of respiratory and cardiovascular functions. In the case of dermal contact with liquid TCE, contaminated clothes should be removed and the affected areas washed with copious amounts of soap and water. Direct eye splashes require irrigation for at least 15 minutes. Corneal epithelium damage usually resolves spontaneously after irrigation. Patients should be removed from the contaminated environment as soon as possible; begin artificial ventilation, if needed. Those with altered mental status or apparent respiratory insufficiency should receive supplemental oxygen. If the patient's pulse is absent, cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be initiated. Gut decontamination (emesis, lavage, or saline cathartic) is recommended if it can be initiated within two to three hours after the ingestion of more than a swallow of TCE. However, the effects of these measures have not been clinically evaluated. If emesis is considered, administer the emetic only to patients who are fully conscious and have an intact gag reflex. Activated charcoal has not been proven to absorb TCE, but, in general, it effectively decreases absorption of most ingested toxic agents. No known treatment for chronic exposure to TCE exists. Potentially involved organ systems should be independently evaluated, and supportive measures should be initiated.

Map Distribution

US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Cancer Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Cancer Death Rate in Males

(Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

Midwest Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

Case Studies

Western US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

Western US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Cancer Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

California Rocket Dyne

Location Map of Santa Susana Lab (Rocket Dyne)

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (Rocket Dyne) is a complex of industrial research and development facilities located on a 2,668 acre portion of the Southern California Simi Hills in Simi Valley, California, used mainly for the testing and development of Liquidpropellant rocket engines for the United States space program from 1949 to 2006. The site is located approximately 7 miles northwest

from the community of Canoga Park and approximately 30 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Sage Ranch Park is adjacent on part of the northern boundary and the community of Bell Canyon along the entire southern boundary. Since 1947 the Santa Susana Field Laboratory location has been used by a number of companies and agencies. The first was Rocket dyne, originally a division of North American Aviation-NAA, which developed a variety of pioneering, successful and reliable liquid rocket engines. Some were those used in the Navaho cruise missile, the Redstone rocket, the Thor and Jupiter ballistic missiles, early versions of the Delta and Atlas rockets, the Saturn rocket family and the Space Shuttle main engine. In 1996, The Boeing Company became the primary owner and operator of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and later closed the site. Today, more than 150,000 people live within 5 miles (8 km) of the facility, and at least half a million people live within 10 miles North American Aviation (NAA) began its development of liquid propellant rocket engines after the end of WWII. The Rocket dyne division of NAA, which came into being under its own name in the mid-1950s, designed and tested several rocket engines at the facility. They included engines for the Army's Redstone (an advanced short-range copy of the German V-2), and the Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) as well as the Air Force's counterpart IRBM, the Thor. Also included were engines for the Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), as well as the twin combustion chamber alcohol/liquid oxygen booster engine for the NAVAHO, a large, intercontinental cruise missile that never became operational. Later, Rocket dyne designed and tested the huge F-1 engine that was eventually used as one of a cluster of engines powering the Apollo booster, as well as the J-2 liquid oxygen/hydrogen upper stage engine also used on the Project Apollo spacecraft. More than one million gallons of trichloroethylene ,(TCE), was used to degrease and clean engines and parts etcetera at the Rocket dyne Field Lab,(SSFL), for 30 years, (1954-1983). Engines were flushed with TCE and more than one half of one million gallons of trichloroethylene seeped from the soil to the groundwater beneath the lab, and the Agency For Toxic Disease Registry,(ATSDR), has expressed concern regarding potential deep fracture flow of this highly toxic contaminant discovered at the groundwater and surface water level which the agency considers a greater danger than perchlorate, because it sticks to soil particles, moves more slowly through fracture spaces, and remains in sandstone. (Rocket dyne officials state that half a million gallons of the solvent were lost to the soil during the flushing process.

During its years of operation widespread use occurred of highly toxic chemical additives to power over 30,000 rocket engine tests and to clean the rocket test-stands afterwards, as well as considerable nuclear research and at least four nuclear accidents, which has resulted in the SSFL becoming a seriously contaminated site and offsite pollution source requiring a sophisticated multi-agency and corporate Cleanup Project. The joint project between NASA, Dept. of Energy and Boeing was begun in 2010. The cleanup is projected to be completed in 2017 In October 2006, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel, made up of independent scientists and researchers from around the United States, concluded that contamination at the facility resulted in between 0 and 1,800 cancer deaths (the average estimate was 300 deaths).

Western US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Kidney Cancer Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

Location Map for Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a 176-acre site in Pasadena, California. The area is primarily residential with some light commercial operations. The site is bordered by the San Gabriel Mountains on the north, an equestrian club and the local Fire Station on the south, a residential neighborhood on the west, and the Arroyo Seco Dry Wash on the east. The Army developed and operated JPL between 1945 and 1957. In 1958, jurisdiction was transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The California Institute of Technology conducts research and development at JPL under a NASA contract in the areas of aeronautics, space technology, and space transportation. JPL's primary activities include the exploration of the earth and solar system by automated spacecraft and the design and operation of the Global Deep Space Tracking Network.

Areas of Impaired Water Quality

Sources of contamination at the site include approximately 35 seepage pits where liquid and solid wastes were reportedly disposed of, a settling chamber in the JPL storm drain system, contaminated soil excavated from part of that system, and an area where waste solvents were dumped into three separate holes. Hazardous substances located at JPL include waste solvents, solid rocket fuel propellants, cooling tower chemicals, sulfuric acid, freon, mercury, and chemical laboratory wastes. In 1990, JPL detected significantly elevated levels of contaminants in the groundwater underneath and down-gradient of the site. Due to volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in the groundwater, four municipal wells were shut down between 1989 and 1990 and two Lincoln Avenue Water Company wells were shut down in 1987. NASA installed treatment systems, and municipal wells began operating again in October of 1990. The Lincoln Avenue Water Company also has installed a treatment system on its wells, which are again operational. Approximately 120,840 people live within 4 miles of the site; an estimated 68,000 people obtain drinking water from municipal wells within 4 miles of the site. The Pasadena wells were shut down again in 2001 because of perchlorate (a component of solid rocket fuel) contamination. The perchlorate plume reached the Lincoln Avenue wells at levels above the State of California standards in 2004 and NASA paid for the installation of an ion-exchange/carbon filter treatment system. NASA has agreed to install a treatment system on the City of Pasadena wells.

Lawrence Livermore, CA

Location Map for Lawrence Livermore Labs Located about 45 miles east of San Francisco, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was established in 1952 to develop nuclear weapons. Livermore Lab and the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico are managed by the University of California, and together they have designed and tested all nuclear warheads in the US arsenal. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has declared the fifty mile radius around Livermore Lab as the population directly affected by toxic and radioactive pollution coming from the Lab. This includes more than seven million people. Over fifty years of weapons research and poor environmental practices have caused severe contamination of our air, water and soil. There is severe soil and groundwater contamination at the Livermore Lab main site in Livermore, as well as its Site 300 testing range in nearbyTracy. Both locations are on the Environmental Protection Agencys Superfund list of the most contaminated sites in the country due to a toxic stew of pollutants ranging from chemical solvents to high explosives to radioactive debris. If the groundwater is not cleaned up, the EPA estimates cancer risks in Livermore as high as one in every thousand residents. The EPAs estimated cancer risk for one of the off-site contaminated areas at site 300 tops one in one hundred.

In 1987 the site was declared a Superfund due to the 12 plumes of TCE and other groundwater contaminants underlying 85% of the site. The main plume was more than mile long, as much as 200 ft. thick and moving westwards towards Livermores municipal drinking water wells. A 1995 California Department of Health Services investigation of childhood cancer incidence among Livermore children and young adults, as compared to children and young adults in the rest of Alameda County, found six times the incidence of malignant melanoma in children and young adults born in Livermore, and elevated levels of brain cancer among children born in Livermore in the 1960s.

Tucson Index Map

Tucson Az.
Tucson, Arizona, is the largest city in the United States that receives all of its drinking water from underground sources. In 1981, TCE and other contaminants were detected in several City of Tucson drinking water wells near the Tucson International Airport. In Tucson a few incidents of health problems have occurred due to water pollution. The best documented incident involves the occurrence of a plume of trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater that extends northwest from the Tucson International Airport. In 1981, an unusual cluster of health problems was identified in the area west of the airport. Tests indicated a high level of TCE in the water. Health officials investigated to determine if a connection existed between the polluted water and the reported diseases. They found sufficient evidence to cause Tucson Water to shut down wells in the area and supply residents with water from other parts of the system. After identifying the Tucson International Airport Area as a Federal Superfund site in 1982, subsequent sampling identified a main plume of groundwater contamination approximately one-half mile wide and five miles in length. A total of 11 City drinking water wells and several more private household wells have been shut down to date as a result of contamination

Map of TCE Plume (in Purple) Around Tucson AIrport

Officials then took on the issue of what to do about the contaminated area. They first had to determine who was responsible for the cleanup and what methods were best to use. Most of the aircraft companies responsible for the problem had ceased operations years earlier. Ultimately, Hughes Aircraft (since purchased by Raytheon) built a treatment plant to deal with the problem beneath its property. A total of more than 40 billion gallons of groundwater has been treated and more than 130,000 pounds of VOCs removed from soils and groundwater throughout the site. Groundwater cleanup actions continue in all areas with additional cleanup systems scheduled for the future A study comparing neurophysiological (NPH) and neuropsychological (NPS) tests of 170 TCE- exposed residents of Tucson with two groups of subjects who had been studied for similar investigations. The NPH battery consisted of body balance, eye closure and blink reflex, simple and choice reaction time, and finger pad number recognition. The NPS battery consisted of immediate recall of stories, visual spatial memory, intelligence, attention span, psychomotor speed, dexterity, and affective status. Exposed subjects were significantly impaired compared to referents for both NPH and NPS tests. In 2006, the last of three insurers agreed to terms with plaintiffs' attorneys (representing 1600 residents), pushing the total settlement beyond $130 million. The residents were reportedly told when they started getting sick that it was because of the chilies and beans they ate

Camp Lejeune, NC
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a 246 sq. mile US military training facility in North Carolina. From at least 1957 through 1987, Marines and their families at Lejeune drank and bathed in water contaminated with toxins at concentrations 240 to 3400 times permitted by safety standards, and at least 850 former residents filed claims for nearly $4 billion from the military. The main chemicals involved were trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser, perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning solvent, and benzene; however, more than 70 chemicals have been identified as contaminants at Lejeune. A 1974 base order required safe disposal of solvents and warned that improper handling could cause drinking water contamination. Yet solvents were dumped or buried near base wells for years.

The base's wells were shut off in the mid-1980s, but were placed back online in violation of the law. In 1982, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found to be in Camp Lejeune's drinking water supply. VOC contamination of groundwater can cause birth defects and other ill health effects in pregnant and nursing mothers. This information was not made public for nearly two decades when the government attempted to identify those who may have been exposed. As many as 500,000 people may have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune over a period of 30 years. Although no official studies have definitively connected the contamination with illness, former residents of Camp Lejeune suffer from a high rate of cancer and other diseases. Children from the Marines have also shown signs of brain cancer and leukemia. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina may be the largest TCE contamination site in the country. Legislation could force the EPA to establish a health advisory and a national public drinking water regulation to limit trichloroethylene in groundwater to less than 5 ppb.

Southern US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

El Campo, Wharton County, Texas

Location Map of El Campo Texas

Location Photo of Alcoa Aluminum Site (left) and TCE Plume (right) at El Campo

Recently, elevated levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) have been found in residential drinking water wells in the West Hills subdivision of El Campo, Texas. The source of the TCE is suspected to be a 48-acre former aluminum extrusion plant. Ownership of the plant has changed several times since it was built in 1963. Alcoa currently owns the facility. Forensic hydrology established the source fingerprint by the isotopic ratio found in the TCE plumes. TCE manufactured by the chemical companies vary in isotopic carbon constituency depending upon the source of the ethylene; i.e., whether the ethylene was cracked from gas, distillate, or heavy oil. On April 26, 2002, Alcoa asked the Texas Department of Health (TDH) to provide information on liver and kidney cancer rates for the area as there have been some reports in the literature of associations between exposure to TCE and these types of cancer. The TDH Cancer Registry Division (CRD) evaluated cancer incidence and mortality data for the zip code 77437, which encompasses the area of concern. CRD examined cancer incidence data for the years 1995-1998 and cancer mortality data for the years 1995-2000. Both the incidence and mortality rates for kidney cancer in females living in this zip code were significantly higher than expected. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for kidney cancer was almost four times higher than the state rate while the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for kidney cancer was over three times the state rate. Regardless of the cancer findings, TDH and ATSDR have concluded that the TCE in the residential well water poses a public health hazard. Map of El Campo Plume Outline


Northeastern US Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)


Massachusetts Map for Woburn(arrow) and Cape Cod (lower right)

New England Map of TCE Superfunds and TRI sites Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Bluer Colors are Higher Rates)

MMR Cape Cod, MA

MMR Map showing location of TCE Plumes The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) is a military reservation created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States War Department in 1935. MMR covers nearly 21,000 acres approximately 30 square miles. Since the early 1990s, over 16 groundwater plumes contaminating the Upper Capes sole source aquifer have been identified as well as almost 80 soil and sediment source areas. The contamination, resulting from landfills, sewage treatment plants, fuel pipelines, fire training areas, truck motor pools, and other sources, is the result of standard practices prior to environmental legislation in the 1970s and 80s. Military training at the site began in the 1940's, and toxics from these activities have polluted large portions of Cape Cod's sole source aquifer that provides drinking water for 200,000 year-round and 500,000 seasonal residents of Cape Cod. Parts of the aquifer have been contaminated by fuel spills and other past activities at MMR's Otis Air Force Base. As of 2002, the government and

the military have treated 50,000 tons of soil, installed 8 treatment systems for groundwater plumes, and have completed 31% of their 2034 cleanup goal. The water treatment systems are currently treating approximately 14 million gallons of groundwater per day.

Possible Model of Plume Development

Woburn, MA

Photograph of Woburn Dumping Ground Woburn is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. located 11 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts, During the mid to late 1970s, the local community became concerned over the high incidence of childhood leukemia and other illnesses, particularly in the Pine Street area of east Woburn. After high levels of chemical contamination (max. greater than 250 ppb TCE) were found in City of Woburns Wells G and H in 1979, some members of the community suspected that the unusually high incidence of leukemia, cancer, and a wide variety of other health problems were linked to the possible exposure to volatile organic chemicals in the groundwater pumped from wells G and H. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) began investigating the problem in December, 1979. A higher than expected rate of childhood leukemia was confirmed by the MDPH in April, 1980.

In May 1982, a number of citizens whose children had developed or died from leukemia filed a civil lawsuit against two corporations, W. R. Grace and Company and Beatrice Foods. Grace's subsidiary, Cryovac, and Beatrice were suspected of contaminating the groundwater by improperly disposing of trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (perc or PCE) and other industrial solvents at their facilities in Woburn near wells G and H. In the CIVIL ACTION case (made famous by the book and movie), Beatrice was acquitted and Grace only paid $8 million. A follow-up study by the Massachusetts Department of Health (1996) found an elevated risk (8 times higher) of childhood leukemia in a group exposed to TCE in uterus.

Location Map of Twin Cities Plant and TCE Plumes MIDWEST TWIN CITIES ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT The Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) is an inactive United States Army ammunition plant located in the Ramsey County, Minnesota. The site was added to the National Priorities List as a Superfund site on September 8, 1983. The soil, sediments, groundwater, and surface water surrounding the plant were contaminated with chlorinated solvents (incl. TCE), base neutral acids, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, cyanide, and explosives. Between 1941 and 1981, wastes were disposed at 14 areas, or sites, within TCAAP. The total area of the Superfund site, including the offsite contaminated groundwater plumes, is approximately 25 square miles.

The remedies selected include:

pumping of the plumes to prevent further migration (containment); treatment with granulated activated carbon (GAC); discharge of treated water to the New Brighton municipal distribution system; alternate water supplies to affected users of private wells; and drilling advisories and monitoring.

Approximately 1.2 billion gallons of groundwater are treated each year with over 35.5 billion gallons of groundwater treated to date. Approximately 226,445 lbs. of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including TCE have been removed from the deep groundwater. A date of 2040 is projected for the completion of groundwater restoration. The site is scheduled to be delisted from the NPL in 2040.

Dayton Ohio McCook Field Neighborhood

A former Chrysler Airtemp factory in Dayton, Ohio was a producer of auto heating and cooling systems, run by Chrysler from at least 1937, was taken over by Behr in 2002. In fact, thats the name under which U.S. EPA placed the property on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 2009. Site cleanup is clouded by the auto companys bankruptcy. Even before restructuring, Chrysler disputed responsibility for a portion of its off-site plume of trichloroethylene. This is a seriously contaminated area. Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been measured as high as 17,000 parts per billion (ppb) in groundwater. In the 500-home McCook Field, mostly low income, residential area south of the plant, TCE reached 3,900 ppb in shallow groundwater, about 20 feet below the surface. Ohio EPA found soil gas readings as high as 160,000 parts per billion by volume (ppbv), the equivalent of 860,000 micrograms per cubic meter (g/m3). (Normally soil gas concentrations are anywhere from 50 to 10,000 times indoor air levels, the basis of exposure.) The first eight homes tested showed TCE in indoor air above the local residential action level of .4 ppbv (2.2 g/m3), and three of those exceeded 100 ppbv (537 g/m3), the emergency action level. One reached an astounding 260 ppbv (1397 g/m3)! Residents of the McCook Field neighborhood only learned about the contamination in 2002. Neighbors were told that Chrysler knew of the TCE release as early as 1989, and that it had entered Ohios voluntary cleanup program in 1998without notifying the neighbors. In the summer of 2007, after high levels of TCE (as high as 25 ppbv or 134 g/m3 ) were found at the Van Cleve at McGuffey school, about a half-mile downgradient from the plant, Dayton Public Schools moved the entire school to a vacant school building about a mile away. The TCE plume which the feds have designated to be among the worst environmental messes in the country is about 1,600 feet from one of the wellfields that supplies the regions drinking water

NIBW -Scottsdale, Arizona

Location Map of Scottsdale AZ (upper right) and TCE Plume Area (outlined in red on left)

North Indian Bend Wash Superfund Site Scottsdale, AZ One of the largest Superfund Cleanup sites in the nation, was designated NPL in 1983. The TCE "released" here occurred prior to its appearance in the municipal drinking wells in 1982. As of 2007, 57,000 pounds, or roughly 19 tons of TCE have been removed from the system of wells that once supplied drinking water to the residents of Scottsdale. One of the three drinking water wells previously owned by the City of Phoenix and ultimately sold to the City of Scottsdale, tested at 390 ppb TCE when it was closed in 1982

Chart Showing High Levels of TCE in Scottsdale Wells Groundwater contamination at NIBW was discovered in 1981 when elevated levels of VOCs including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and chloroform were found in several Scottsdale-area drinking water wells. As a result, local water providers stopped using those wells for drinking water.

Beaverton, Oregon
In 1998, the View-Master factory supply well in was found to have been contaminated with high levels of TCE. This included levels of TCE which were over 300 times the federal drinking water standard. The various concerns who owned the View-Master franchise in the 1950s through the 1970s (Sawyer's and GAF), acknowledged using TCE to clean and de-grease parts and equipment, and disposed of the chemical on-site. Former GAF employees report that waste TCE from the degreaser was routinely placed in 55-gallon drums, transported by truck to other sites on the premises, and discharged to the ground. This disposal was legal at the time. It was originally estimated that 25,000 factory workers had been exposed to it from 1950 2001. However, further investigation showed that the actual number of employees who can be identified from employment records for the site is approximately half that number. In addition, the number of employees identified as having worked at the site for more than five years is likely to be less than 1,000. The site is now considered safe. A preliminary mortality analysis by the Oregon Department of Human Services indicated higher than expected percentages of deaths from pancreatic and kidney cancers and lower than expected levels for liver and lympho/hematopoetic cancers among the factory's former employees. Location Map of Beaverton OR In October 2011, Amanda Evans, a resident/activist with Victims of TCE Exposure, released the results of her neighborhood study. Out of 633 former employees surveyed, more than 200 were diagnosed with cancers, according to the study. Women who drank the contaminated water at the plant were six times more likely to have kidney cancer than the general Oregon population. Men were 14 times more likely to have gall bladder cancer.

Naval Air Warfare Center Trenton NJ

The NAWC Research Site, West Trenton, NJ, is located 4 miles north of Trenton, NJ. The fractured bedrock at the site has been contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE)--a chlorinated solvent. The plume of TCE was caused by leakage of TCE from aboveground service lines and storage tanks. The TCE was used as a heat transfer agent during jet engine tests. An estimated 100,000 gallons of TCE was lost through leakage and spills at the site In 1984 New Jersey enacted legislation requiring that all public community water systems monitor semiannually for 14 VOCs, including many chlorinated solvents. In the first year of mandatory testing, approximately 110 water supplies out of 620 supplies in the state had detectable levels of non-THM VOCs. These 110 water supplies were primarily those with groundwater sources. The most commonly occurring contaminants were TCE, PCE and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Many of the sources include improper disposal by commercial and individual users, as well as groundwater pollution at hazardous waste sites. A New Jersey study found TCE associations with childhood leukemia among females and with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The area of the study encompassed 1.5 million people. The study concluded; Because 5 ppb is the maximum contaminant level (MCL) allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.E.P.A) for both PCE and TCE, the observed association of these cancers with contaminants above this level supports maintaining the stringent New Jersey MCLs of 1 ppb.

Things to Avoid!
There are some things that can be done to minimize exposure to TCE.
Avoid dehydration with increased consumption of uncontaminated water Reduce use of acetaminophen (and other drugs that lower GSH levels) Decrease Alcohol Consumption Eliminate cigarette smoking Use appropriate respiration protection with TCE containing products Use Paint removers, Spot Cleaners and Degreasers only in well ventilated areas

Manufacturing facilities should continue to install scrubbers or air strippers on stacks to reduce emissions.

For More Information see websites.


Community Websites

Camp Lejeune (NC): The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten Cheshire (CT): Cancer in Cheshire Ithaca (NY) and Neighbors: South Hill Industrial Pollution Simi Valley (CA): Clean Up Rocket dyne Viewmaster (OR): Victims of TCE Exposure