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Trichloroethylene (TCE) Exposure and Health Effects

Trichloroethylene (TCE) Exposure and Health Effects

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a widely used chemical that has gained attention due to its potential health risks. This article examines the symptoms of exposure to trichloroethylene and its long-term health effects. By understanding these aspects, veterans can take necessary precautions to monitor their health and protect their right to benefits.

What is TCE?

Trichloroethylene, commonly known as TCE, is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It is an industrial solvent for degreasing metal parts and cleaning electronic components. TCE is also used in the processing industry for adhesives, lubricants, paints, and more. Due to its volatile nature, TCE can easily evaporate into the air and contaminate water and soil.

In the United States military, trichloroethylene has historically been used for several purposes:

  • Degreasing Agent: TCE is an effective degreasing agent. It has been used extensively to clean and degrease metal parts, machinery, and equipment. It can dissolve and remove oils, greases, and other contaminants from surfaces, making it useful in maintenance operations.
  • Cleaning Agent: TCE has been utilized for cleaning military hardware, such as weapons, ammunition, and sensitive electronic components. It is valuable for cleaning intricate parts as it can dissolve and remove various substances. Without it, these parts may be difficult to clean.
  • Dry Cleaning: TCE has been used in military installations for dry cleaning operations, especially for cleaning uniforms, protective clothing, and textiles. Its solvent properties make it an effective spot remover.

In recent years, there has been a shift toward using safer alternatives and adopting more environmentally friendly practices in military operations. Various regulations and guidelines are now in place to restrict or eliminate the use of trichloroethylene and other harmful substances. There is an increased focus on improving military personnel’s occupational safety and health.

TCE Exposure Symptoms

It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary. It depends on the concentration and duration of exposure, individual sensitivity, and overall health. If you have been exposed to trichloroethylene, it is important to seek medical attention. Tell healthcare professionals about the potential exposure so they can properly evaluate and treat any symptoms.

Trichloroethylene Short-Term Health Effects

Drinking water contaminated with TCE, breathing in vapors, or entering physical contact can cause temporary symptoms. It’s important to note that these symptoms are generally temporary and should subside once exposure to TCE is minimized or eliminated. Prolonged or repeated exposure to high levels of TCE can have more severe health effects and may cause long-term damage.

Short-term symptoms:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin irritation or rashes
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Trichloroethylene Long-Term Health Effects

Long-term exposure to TCE has been linked to various detrimental health effects. It is associated with an increased risk of developing kidney, liver, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Additionally, TCE exposure has been linked to reproductive issues, including reduced fertility and infant developmental abnormalities.

Long-term issues:

  • TCE can cause liver dysfunction, including elevated liver enzymes, hepatitis, and in severe cases, liver failure.
  • Prolonged exposure to TCE may lead to kidney damage, such as kidney dysfunction, inflammation, or renal failure.
  • Exposure to TCE has been linked to a range of neurological issues. These include confusion, dizziness, impaired concentration, memory loss, and even symptoms that mimic Parkinson’s disease.
  • Long-term exposure to TCE can result in respiratory issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or impaired lung function.
  • Evidence suggests that TCE exposure may affect fertility, increase the risk of miscarriage, and potentially harm fetal development.
  • Prolonged TCE chemical exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Types of cancer include kidney cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Legal Assistance

When it comes to toxic exposure cases, veteran disability lawyers can provide valuable assistance. These cases include exposure to substances such as trichloroethylene (TCE) during military service. Lawyers can help in a variety of ways:

  • Gathering Evidence: A VA lawyer can help gather additional evidence to support your case if your initial claim was denied. Medical experts may be consulted to help strengthen your claim. Relevant medical and service records should be gathered. Any other necessary documentation should be collected.
  • Developing Legal Arguments: A lawyer will develop strong arguments to present during appeals. They will use the specifics of your case. Ensure that all relevant laws, regulations, and precedents are considered to maximize your chances of success.
  • Representing You in Appeals: A veterans disability lawyer can guide you through the appeals process. They will represent you in administrative hearings or before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) if necessary. They will present your case, cross-examine witnesses, and make compelling arguments on your behalf.

Toxic exposure cases can be complex. Having an experienced veterans disability lawyer by your side can improve your chances of success. They possess the knowledge, expertise, and understanding of veterans’ disability claims. They can advocate for your rights and fight for the benefits you are due.

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