30 Sep '11, 4pm

E.P.A. Charts Risks of a Ubiquitous Chemical

E.P.A. Charts Risks of a Ubiquitous Chemical

Carla Winn for The New York Times Ed Abney of Berea, Ky., was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001 after spending 24 years working with trichloroethylene in a factory. The E.P.A. has just calculated the chemical’s risks. So you wanted to clean grease off a bit of machinery. The year was 1956 or 1971 or even 1993. Your cleaner of choice was probably the industrial degreaser trichloroethylene, a petroleum-based clear liquid that was as common in mid-20th-century America as Ipana toothpaste, Crackerjack and asbestos. It was used in dry-cleaning, in machine shops and on military bases. Production of the chemical grew to 321 million pounds in 1991 from 260,000 pounds a decade earlier. Having leached into groundwater, it is one of the most widely dispersed pollutants in the country today. If the groundwater is close to the surface, it can vaporize and enter the air in peop...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/e-p-a-quantifie...

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