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TCE in endicott New York, it’s a Superfund thing!

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Presentation on theme: "TCE in endicott New York, it’s a Superfund thing!"— Presentation transcript:

1 TCE in endicott New York, it’s a Superfund thing!
Shari Weiss Phd Student Walden University Dr. Thron, Course Instructor Winter 2011 Welcome and thank you for attending this presentation on TCE also known as tetrachloroethene, a byproduct of methyl chloroform (EPA, 2010) and what it means for the residents of Endicott, New York. I am currently a Phd student at Walden University, focusing on Public Health. I am also a property owner in the city of Endicott, New York, and I would like to educate my community about what happened to make Endicott into a class 2 Superfund site and what that might mean for our health and environment. If you have any questions, please feel free to me at:

2 It all began in 1997 In 1997, IBM reported a spill of methyl chloroform (EPA, 2010) IBM had a hydrogeologic report done that indicated a “higher than expected plume”, including TCE (EPA, 2010). In 2002 the NYS DEC ordered IBM to do a comprehensive assessment of contaminant vapors in surrounding areas In 1997, IBM reported a spill of 4100 gallons of methyl chloroform (1-1-1 tricholorethane) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,2010). At that time, IBM conducted a hydrogeologic report and the results indicated that there was a “higher than expected plume” of toxic substances, with the most significant being Tricholoroethene, also known as TCE (EPA, 2010). In 2002, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ordered IBM to conduct an comprehensive assessment of contaminant vapors around the manufacturing plant and surrounding areas (EPA, 2010)

3 Learning Objectives Participants will learn about what Tetrachlorethene (TCE) is How TCE impacts Health The Endicott, New York Superfund site and what it means to you Research and Recommendations Where to get more information The learning objectives of this presentation are that participants will: Learn about TCE, learn how TCE impacts health, learn more about the Endicott Superfund site, Learn about research and recommendations for cleanup and management and learn about where to get more information

4 The results Vapor Contaminants had migrated to area buildings
This includes buildings in the Village of Endicott and Town of Union TCE is the pollutant of most concern regarding indoor air (EPA, 2010). In 2004, site reclassified as a class 2 Superfund site The results of this assessment where that vapor contaminants had indeed migrated and created indoor air pollution in buildings surrounding the manufacturing site, and extending to buildings in the village of Endicott and the Town of Union (EPA, 2010). The EPA (2010) indicates that the primary contaminant of concern is TCE as an indoor air pollutant (EPA). In 2004, the NYS DEC reclassified the IBM site as a class 2 Superfund site (EPA, 2010). A class 2 site means that “hazardous waste constitutes a significant threat to the public health or environment” (EPA, 2010).

5 What is Tce to me? Tetrachloroethene=TCE
Volatile Organic Compounds=VOCs Health Consequences=“cancer, organ damage, and/or birth defects” (NYSCEC, 2006) No formal regulations for evaluating TCE exposure, only suggested guidelines A 2005 Health Statistics Review reported increased rates of testicular and kidney cancer, as well as heart birth defects Tetrachloroethene is also known as TCE. TCE is part of a group of toxic pollutants known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs (EPA, 2010). In 2006, the New York State Committee on Environmental Conservation issued a report on the impact of vapor intrusion of toxic chemicals like TCE in areas of New York that were designated Superfund sites (NYSCEC, 2006). The report indicated that TCE exposure, among other VOCs, is linked to serious health consequences like “cancer, organ damage, and/or birth defects” (NYSCEC, 2006). Guidelines for evaluating TCE are still in the development stage, which means there are no former regulations, only suggestions from the DEC and the EPA (NYSCEC, 2006). The CEC report(2006) also indicated that the NYS Department of Health issued a Health Statistics Review specifically for Endicott, which reported “elevated rates of testicular cancer, kidney cancer and heart birth defects in the Endicott area” (NYSCEC, 2006). These rates were found to be statistically significant in relation to the TCE exposure (NYSCEC, 2006). This means that the higher rates of cancer and birth defects can be associated with the increased exposure to TCE.

6 Anything Recent? In researchers conducted a study on the impact of TCE on the immune system (Cooper, Makris, & Jinot) Studies with mice indicated lupus like symptoms after exposure to TCE Human studies are limited Some recent studies indicated a “causal relation between exposure and disease”, Skin irritation and liver issues A 2009 study on the impact of TCE on the immune system in mice and in humans was conducted by a trio or researchers (Cooper, Makris, & Jinot, 2009). They discovered that animal studies had demonstrated strong immune system response in mice in the form of lupus like symptoms (Cooper, Makris, & Jinot, 2009). They also discussed that human studies are indeed limited, but the studies that had been done demonstrate “support for a causal relation between exposure and disease”, though most of the studies yielded issues with skin irritation and liver issues (Cooper, Makris, & Jinot, 2009, p. 701)

7 Other research A a long term study of NASA research facilities and vapor intrusion was published TCE was present in groundwater TCE levels analyzed were higher indoors than outdoors This study demonstrates how TCE can be effectively measured if it is present due to vapor intrusion Demonstrates how groundwater contamination can result in vapor intrusion Residential buildings are not the only concern in Endicott, but also the many industrial buildings and industrial sites. In 2010, D. Brenner published the results of a long-term study on vapor intrusion in a NASA research facility. Among the VOC’s detected, TCE was found to be present in the groundwater below the buildings. The analysis of frequent, regular measurements of outdoor and indoor air quality found that TCE levels were consistently higher with indoor air (Brenner, 2010). The results of this study are able to demonstrate how TCE can be effectively measured, particularly if it is present in an industrial building due to vapor intrusion. It also further demonstrates how a groundwater contamination can result in a vapor intrusion that might become a public health concern

8 So why is there no regulation?
Despite scientific evidence-lots of controversy and debate No real standards, only proposed limits Hard to accurately measure More research needs to be done Study published by Brenner (2010) is promising Despite these findings and other scientific data, there is still a lot of debate over TCE exposure and its impact on human health (NYSCEC, 2006). This means that although we understand there are negative risks associated with TCE exposure, the public health system cannot give a definitive answer on just how toxic TCE is to humans and the environment. The CEC report (2006) also indicates that vapor intrusion from VOCs like TCE is hard to measure because of seasonal and atmospheric conditions. Therefore, finding exact levels of TCE in people’s homes and other buildings is quite challenging, and makes it difficult to fully measure the level of toxicity in these areas. More research needs to be conducted in order to find accurate ways of measuring TCE and identifying its impact on public health and the environment. The research done by Brenner (2010) is quite promising in this regard.

9 How expensive is this? Monitoring-testing costs between $2000- $3000 annually (NYSCEC, 2006) Mitigation-installing specialized venting systems to eliminate TCE costs from $1000- $30000 depending on the complexity of the structure, and could be higher (NYSCEC, 2006) Over time, mitigation costs are equal or less than annual testing There are two approaches to dealing with TCE-monitoring and mitigation. According to the CEC report (2006), though the cost of monitoring/testing is less expensive than initial cost of mitigation, over a period of years it would be more cost effective to simply install mitigation equipment.

10 What about endicott? IBM installed mitigation systems in all buildings within the “plume” in the village of Endicott Viewed as being responsible in vapor mitigation management In an effort to be responsible, as indicated in the 2006 CEC report, IBM installed mitigation systems in any building that were within the designated “plume” area in Endicott, New York. This is viewd by the New York State Assembly and CEC as a responsible step toward protecting the community and the environment.

11 What is a mitigation system?
Use of current technology to mitigate exposure Liquid Boot© Gas Vapor Mitigation System Spray on Barrier Can be used on existing and new construction So what exactly is a mitigation system? Well, in simplest terms, it is the use of current technology to lessen or mitigate exposure to a toxic substance…such as TCE. A current technology in use is something called “Liquid Boot”. According to the makers of this, it is a “cold, spray-applied membrane that provides an impermeable barrier against vapor instrusion into structures. LIQUID BOOT® is sprayed directly to penetrations, footings, grade beams, pile caps, etc., providing a fully-adhered and seamless membrane”. (CETCO). This is an effective barrier technique that has the potential to minimize exposure to TCE, and can be applied to existing and new constructions.

12 What’s next? The NYSCEC (2006) recommends the following:
DOH establish exposure limits based on lowest levels studied. DOH and DEC implement mitigation where TCE vapor intrusion is detected and confirmed If someone lives or works in a building near a site, they can request indoor air testing Cleanup of a site should be done as quickly and “aggressively” as possible Continuing education of communities The 2006 New York State Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation (NYSCEC) made several recommendations regarding TCE and vapor intrusion. First, the CEC recommends that the NYS Department of Health adopt standards for TCE that are the most “protective and restrictive” in terms of levels of acceptable exposure. This means that they are asking the DOH to establish safety limits of exposure to TCE based on the lowest levels determined by various research studies. Secondly, the DOH and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) should implement mitigation whenever TCE levels are detected in any indoor structure and confirmed to be from vapor intrusion. Thirdly, that anyone who lives or works near a contaminated site and requests testing of their indoor air should be granted that testing, at no cost to them. Fourth, all contaminated sites should be cleaned up in an “aggressive and accelerated” manner. Additionally, there are several other recommendations, most important of which is continuing education of communities about exposure to vapor intrusion (NYSCEC, 2006).

13 What should I do? Find out if you live in the impacted “plume” area
Request information from the Broome County Department of Health Ask for your building to be tested and/or mitigated for TCE Information available at: tm Review the Citizen Participation Action Plan at: The site cleanup continues and both IBM and the DEC remain actively involved. Find out from either the DEC or IBM if you are living in a “plume” area. Request information form the Broome County Department of Health regarding testing for TCE exposure and if there is any need for additional information. If you do live in an impacted area and your building has not already been tested and/or mitigated, request that this be done as soon as possible. Contact and other information is available at this website:

14 References Brenner, D. (2010). Results of a Long-Term Study of Vapor Intrusion at Four Large Buildings at the NASA Ames Research Center. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995), 60(6), doi: / Cooper GS, Makris SL, Nietert PJ, Jinot J, 2009 Evidence of Autoimmune-Related Effects of Trichloroethylene Exposure from Studies in Mice and Humans. Environ Health Perspect 117(5): doi: /ehp Retrieved from: 1289%2Fehp.11782 CETCO Remediation Technologies. Liquid Boot© Gas Vapor Mitigation System. Retrieved from: Environmental Protection Agency (2010). Region 2 Home. IBM Corporation-Endicott. Retrieved from: New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation,(2006). Vapor Intrusion of Toxic Chemicals: An Emerging Public Health Concern. Final Report. NYS DEC (2008). Citizen Participation Action Plan for Endicott Area Environmental Projects. Retrieved from: These are a list of the references I cited throughout my presentation. Thank you for your time!


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