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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 has extensive experience in injury claims and has seen the devastating effects injury can have on people and their families. Recently, more information has surfaced about the dangerous chemical Trichloroethylene, or TCE. TCE is a man-made chemical used primarily as a metal degreaser. Its use has been widespread, and studies into its effects on humans have revealed that it can cause cancer and damage the nervous and immune systems. It is also known under the names Ethylene trichloride, Penzinol, and 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 used as an industrial solvent in tool and automobile production. It can also be found in homes in typewriter correction fluid, paint, spot removers, cleaning fluids, and varnishes. TCE has also been found in drinking water across the United States after entering the groundwater and water on the surface from industrial discharges or from improper disposal of landfill waste.

People who have worked in degreasing operations have the highest risk of being exposed to TCE. Exposure to this chemical can happen by breathing, touching, or drinking/eating. People who use TCE as a solvent are at risk of breathing in significant amounts of the compound. Since TCE evaporates quickly, people who shower or bathe in contaminated water are also at risk of breathing in the vapors as well. TCE can also 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, which means that anybody who drinks from a well may be exposed.

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

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 the mother was exposed to TCE
  • Increased risk of Parkinson's Disease (six times greater than that of a non-exposed subject)

First Aid Measures for TCE

If TCE is inhaled, ensure your own safety before attempting to help anyone else. Move the victim somewhere with fresh air and call the Poison Control Center. If TCE 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 until it returns to a safe level.

Contacting an Omaha Injury Attorney from Domina Law Group

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.

Contact us if you or a loved one has had dangerous exposure to Trichloroethylene by calling us at (402) 493-4100.

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