Friday, September 30, 2011

EPA Releases Final Health Assessment for TCE

On September 28, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of its Final Health Assessment for trichloroethylene.  The final assessment characterizes the chemical as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard.

TCE is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment.  A chlorinated hydrocarbon, it was widely used as an industrial solvent and is now prevalent at Superfund and other sites across the country.  EPA already has set a maximum contaminant level for TCE at 5 parts per billion, with a maximum contaminant level goal of 0 ppb.  It has also established standards for cleaning up TCE at Superfund sites throughout the country.  Additional information regarding TCE may be found at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' website.

Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Research and Development, reported:
This assessment is an important first step, providing valuable information to the state, local and federal agencies responsible for protecting the health of the American people.  It underscores the importance of EPA's science and, in particular, the critical value of the IRIS database for ensuring that government officials and the American people have the information they need to protect their health and the health of their children.
TCE toxicity values as reported in the assessment will be considered in:
  • Establishing cleanup methods at the 761 Superfund sites where TCE has been identified as a contaminant;
  • Understanding the risk from vapor intrusion as TCE vapors move from contaminated groundwater and soil into the indoor air of overlying buildings;
  • Revising EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level for TCE as part of the carcinogenic volatile organic compounds group in drinking water, as described in the agency’s drinking water strategy; and
  • Developing appropriate regulatory standards limiting the atmospheric emissions of TCE – a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
For more information regarding this matter, please contact Eric Adair or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.

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