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Dangerous Chemicals: Trichloroethylene

Nebraska Personal Injury Lawyer for Trichlor Injuries

Cleaning solvents, chlorides, and other chemicals can pose a huge risk of personal injury. Domina Law Group pc llo has extensive experience in injury claims and has seen the devastating effects injury can have on clients and their families. One dangerous chemical that more information is surfacing on is Trichloroethylene, or TCE. TCE is a man-made chemical used primarily as a metal degreaser. Its use has been widespread and is now well known to cause cancer and damage the nervous and immune systems. It is also known as Ethylene trichloride, Penzinol, or Chlorilen.

What is TCE and where is it found?

TCE appears as a clear or pale blue liquid with a sweet smell. It has been listed as class D1B Toxic, D2A Very toxic (Carcinogenicity; Mutagenicity) and D2B Toxic (Skin irritant; eye irritant). TCE is most commonly associated with tool and automobile production after being used as a solvent. In homes, it is found in typewriter correction fluid, paint, spot removers, cleaning fluids, and varnishes. TCE has been found in many drinking water supplies in the United States after entering the ground water and surface water from industrial discharges or from improper disposal of landfill waste.

People who have worked in degreasing operations have the highest risk of exposure to TCE. Exposure to the chemical can happen by breathing, touching, or drinking/eating. People who use TCE as a solvent may breathe significant amounts of the compound. Since TCE evaporates quickly, people who shower or bath in contaminated water may breathe the vapors, as well. TCE can be absorbed through the skin. Individuals who don't use solvent-resistant gloves while using the compound may face exposure. Groundwater can be contaminated once TCE is released into the soil, thus anybody who drinks from a well may be exposed.

Unfortunately many industrial companies use and have used Trichloroethylene for decades without properly supplying their employees with proper education about the chemical or proper safety training or protective measures to prevent all the devastating problems associated with Trichloroethylene exposure.

Potential Health Effects of TCE

Some health effects may occur immediately or shortly after inhaling air that contains more than 50,000 parts per billion by volume of Trichloroethylene. These include:

  • Heart problems including cardiac arrhythmias;
  • Serious liver injury;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation.
  • Dizziness, headache, neurological problems; and

Although TCE has not been specifically linked to certain effects in humans, studies have shown that animals exposed to high levels of the compound may develop problems such as:

  • Cancer (including liver, kidney, lung, brain, soft tissue, testicular tumors, and leukemia)
  • Heart defects in offspring when mother was exposed to TCE
  • Increased risk of Parkinson's Disease (six times greater than that of non-exposed subject)

First Aid Measures for TCE

If TCE is inhaled, ensure your safety before attempting to help anyone else. Move the victim to a fresh air supply and call the Poison Control Center. If Trichloroethylene makes contact with skin or eyes, immediately flush the area with lukewarm water for approximately 20 minutes. Call the Poison Control Center right away.

Standards for Regulating TCE

TCE drinking water standards are set at 5 parts per billion by both the state and federal agencies. If levels are higher than this it may be a good idea to stop drinking the water and possibly avoid bathing in or washing with the contaminated water.

Contacting an Omaha Injury Attorney from Domina Law Group

Contact us if you or a loved one has had dangerous exposure to Trichloroethylene. Our Nebraska personal injury lawyers understand the seriousness TCE can pose after exposure, especially when long term. We will fight to ensure the companies and manufacturers who have exposed victims to this harmful chemical remain responsible for their actions.

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