Vapor intrusion can harm people's health.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a completed assessment of the health risks from vapor intrusion for residents living near the Havertown Superfund site and found that trichloroethylene (TCE) and its byproducts “do not pose an unacceptable risk to residents via a vapor intrusion pathway.

“These contaminants have not been detected in indoor air living space and therefore, a removal action is not required to mitigate potential risks from TCE.”

The Superfund site has been subject of governmental interjection after a wood treatment plant spilled hazardous chemicals into the river and affected the surrounding areas.

Trichloroethylene is a non-flammable, colorless liquid used as a solvent for cleaning or degreasing metal parts. It can enter groundwater when chemicals are spilled on the ground, poured down drains or otherwise disposed of improperly.

Depending on concentrations and exposure, TCE can cause nerve, kidney or liver damage as well as cancer of these organs.

The EPA announced in February that it would launch a vapor intrusion study due to concerns that TCE detected in groundwater on the Superfund site could be entering nearby homes through vapor intrusion, a process whereby volatile contaminants in soil and groundwater evaporate and gas off into buildings through cracks in basements and foundations, sump pumps, drainage pits or utility conduits.

In March, the EPA collected indoor and sub-slab/crawl space air samples from 10 residences in the vicinity.

The EPA suspects TCE concentrations are not related to historical operations at the Superfund site but derive from other, unidentified sources.

Source: Daily Times

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