U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Environmental Occurrence

TCE generally is thought of as an industrial solvent and is produced in the millions of tons in the United States and abroad. TCE has been used in dry cleaning operations, in metal degreasing, and as a solvent for fats, greases, waxes, cellulose ester, ethers, dyeing, oils, and household cleaners for walls, clothing and rugs. It also has been used as a refrigerant, a heat exchange liquid, in organic synthesis, a fumigant, an inhalation analyzer or anesthetic, a diluent in paints and adhesives, an industrial solvent in extraction processes, an analgesic, a chain terminator for PVC production, an extractant in food processing (e.g., for decaffeinated coffee), a disinfectant and detergent for skin, minor wounds and surgical instruments, and a chemical intermediate in the production of pesticides, gums, resins, tars, paints, varnishes and specific chemicals, such as chloroacetic acid. TCE has been used in cleaning and drying electronic parts, textile processing, aerospace operations (flushing liquid oxygen), and the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, The compound finds its greatest use in metal degreasing applications.

TCE is the most widely detected organic chemical at NPL sites and also has been found in relatively remote areas. In a 1999 study of public drinking water systems, it was one of the more common volatile organics detected. A recent report under the Right to Know provisions of SARA shows that 525 facilities nationwide released over 8 million pounds of TCE to the air, 400 pounds to surface water, and 12.6 thousand pounds to the land.

Information regarding levels of TCE or other DNAPLs in specific geographic locations or water bodies may be available in a monitoring or characterization report. The Library of the U.S. Geological Survey provides links to several databases in which such reports can be located http://library.usgs.gov/

Adapted from:

Adobe PDF LogoA Review of Contaminant Occurrence in Public Water Systems
EPA 816-R-99-006, 1999

National Exposure Registry Trichloroethylene (TCE) Subregistry Baseline Through Followup 3: 1999 Technical Report
National Exposure Registry Trichloroethylene (TCE) Subregistry Baseline Through Followup 3: 1999 Technical Report

The 2001 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release Report
EPA 260-R-03-001, 2003

NTP Chemical Repository: Trichloroethylene
NIEHS, undated

Handbook of Environmental Fate and Exposure Data for Organic Chemicals, Volume II: Solvents
P. Howard. Lewis Publishers, 1991.

General

The 2001 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release Report
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Toxic Release Inventory Program.
EPA 260-R-03-001, 2003.

Low-Level Volatile Organic Compounds in Active Public Supply Wells as Ground-Water Tracers in the Los Angeles Physiographic Basin, California
J. Shelton, K. Burow, K. Belitz, N. Dubrovsky, M. Land, and J. Gronberg.
Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4188, U.S. Geological Survey. 35 pp, 2001.
Contact: Jennifer Shelton, jshelton@usgs.gov or Karen Burow, krburow@usgs.gov

National Contaminant Occurrence Database (NCOD)
U.S. EPA, Office of Water.

Adobe PDF LogoOccurrence and Implications of Selected Chlorinated Solvents in Ground Water and Source Water in the United States and in Drinking Water in 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, 1993�2002
U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005�5268, 82 pp, 2005.

The Quality of Our Nation's Waters: Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking-Water Supply Wells
J.S. Zogorski, J.M. Carter, T. Ivahnenko, W.W. Lapham, M.J. Moran, B.L. Rowe, P.J. Squillace, and P.L. Toccalino.
U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1292, 112 pp, 2006.

Adobe PDF LogoA Review of Contaminant Occurrence in Public Water Systems
U.S. EPA, Office of Water. EPA 816-R-99-006, 1999.

Potential for Human Exposure
Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene (TCE), Chapter 5, 28 pp.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1997.

Adobe PDF LogoSpatial Variability of Volatile Organic Compounds in Streams on Long Island, NY, and in New Jersey
A. O'Brien, R. Reiser, and H. Gylling.
Fact Sheet FS-194-97. U.S. Geological Survey. 1997.
Contact: Anne O'Brien, akobrien@gsvaresh01.er.usgs.gov or Robert Reiser, rreiser@usgs.gov

National Exposure Registry Trichloroethylene (TCE) Subregistry Baseline Through Followup 3: 1999 Technical Report
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Center for Disease Control. 1999.