Studies have shown that acute and chronic (long-term) exposure to the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) can affect the human heart, central nervous system, liver, kidney, immune system, cervix and lymphatic system. Epidemiological studies have reported trichloroethylene exposure to be associated with several types of cancers and other serious disorders.
Workers may be regularly exposed in specific workplaces, and employers have a responsibility to protect employees and provide a safe work environment.
Should any employer fail in this regard and a worker falls ill as a result of workplace toxin exposure, an investigation may be necessary, a claim can be filed against the negligent company, and injured workers can be awarded proper compensation for related expenses and pain and suffering.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Toxic Tort Attorney, representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims and TCE exposure injury lawsuits.
Most of the trichloroethylene used in the United States is released into the atmosphere from industrial operations in the vapor degreasing of metal parts. Trichloroethylene is used as an extraction solvent for greases, oils, fats, waxes, and tars; and also in consumer products such as typewriter correction fluids, paint removers, adhesives, spot removers, and rug-cleaning fluids.
TCE use was extensive through the 1970s mainly as a degreasing agent in metal-fabricating operations, mostly before the environmental concerns. TCE was banned as a food additive and in cosmetics in 1977. TCE has also had several uses in other industries like the following:
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Coma and respiratory depression may occur with prolonged, high-level exposure. Serious ventricular arrhythmias can develop up to 24 hours after large TCE ingestion. Depending on the duration and intensity of exposure at the workplace, other symptoms may include:
Toxicologists stress that the effects of exposure to any chemical depend on several factors, such as:
Toxic exposure can be very dangerous for any worker. Relatively short-term exposure to trichloroethylene may result in harmful effects on the nervous and lymphatic systems, liver, respiratory system, kidneys, blood, immune system, and heart.
Exposure to trichloroethylene in the workplace may cause scleroderma in some people. Some men occupationally-exposed to trichloroethylene have showed decreases in sex drive and reproductive hormone levels.
A study released in 2010 found that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) is associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Workers exposed to TCE show significant changes in the normal balance of immune system regulators, according to the study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Those faced with workplace Trichloroethylene exposure had worked as machinists, dry cleaners, electricians, and mechanics. The researchers assessed the impact of TCE on exposed workers, including 35 printing plant workers.
Environmental monitoring tests confirmed that the workers involved in degreasing activities were directly exposed to TCE, and the workers also had higher average levels of a TCE metabolite in urine, compared with non-exposed workers. In addition to kidney cancer, lymphoma and Parkinson’s, some studies have suggested that TCE exposure injury may also be linked to autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus and systemic sclerosis.
American courts have responded well to claims of toxic workplace exposure and have made employers accountable for the safety of workers and providing proper protective equipment for workers. Any failure to protect workers can lead to injuries and subsequent lawsuits.
A jury in Missouri awarded over $20 million to a 27-year-old woman who claimed she developed an autoimmune disorder from exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) that had been dumped illegally near her home by Schaeffler Group USA Inc., a manufacturer of ball bearings.
Thousands of claims were made against the U.S. government when residents of Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, developed diseases linked to contaminants, including TCE. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several hazardous chemicals and cancer-causing agents were found in the Camp Lejeune water supply. Some of these chemicals include the following:
TCE can enter the human body in a variety of ways, including ingestion, inhalation and skin contact and may cause the following:
Toxic exposure cases help empower employees to fight for their right to be protected, satisfactorily informed, and to stay safe. They also bring awareness to challenge and higher the expectations of companies who are not serving their employees justly.