Author Topic: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)  (Read 32107 times)

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Offline oakcreekrenter

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EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« on: September 30, 2011, 12:26:06 PM »
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-toxic-risk-20110930,0,1063431.story

I was living in Mountain View in 2001 when the draft assessment came out, and knew some friends who had bought brand new town homes above a TCE plume from an old HP/IBM silicon factory.  The EPA had to hold town meetings to assure people that it was just a preliminary finding.  For a few months, there were a fair number of people selling and moving out of the neighborhood, before people forgot about it or it stopped being news. 

Now that the EPA has made it final, wonder what it does for homes above contaminated sites in Irvine.  I know there is one plume under Woodbridge that has been discussed to death.  Would you buy a home above a known TCE plume?  I wouldn't.  I just passed on a Northpark home that my wife and I LOVED that turned out to have mold, and I think mold would be easier to address than possible TCE exposure. 


Offline Nous

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 01:25:04 PM »
So don't buy in Irvine?

Offline IrvineNinja

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 01:33:55 PM »
"Is there a risk of TCE vapors rising out of the TCE plume from the former ETMCAS base and contaminating homes and businesses over the plume?

No. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has determined that there is no risk of TCE vapors emanating from the TCE plume and contaminating existing homes and businesses located above the plume...."  From the Irvine Water District site:
http://www.irwd.com/your-water/water-quality/el-toro-cleanup-facts/tce-drinking-water-faqs.html


So does the new EPA conclusion mean that there is some danger from living above a TCE plume?

(I tried reading the EPA findings at their site but way too technical for me...)
http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0199.htm

Offline Nous

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 01:38:49 PM »
"Is there a risk of TCE vapors rising out of the TCE plume from the former ETMCAS base and contaminating homes and businesses over the plume?

No. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has determined that there is no risk of TCE vapors emanating from the TCE plume and contaminating existing homes and businesses located above the plume...."  From the Irvine Water District site:
http://www.irwd.com/your-water/water-quality/el-toro-cleanup-facts/tce-drinking-water-faqs.html


So does the new EPA conclusion mean that there is some danger from living above a TCE plume?

(I tried reading the EPA findings at their site but way too technical for me...)
http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0199.htm

Q: So does the new EPA conclusion mean that there is some danger from living above a TCE plume?
A: Yes

Offline test

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2011, 01:55:00 PM »
"One day soon, this contamination issue is going to blow up in Irvine, and lawsuits will come forward fast and furious—it's just a matter of time,"

http://www.eltoronow.com/

Offline rkp

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2011, 02:27:24 PM »
"One day soon, this contamination issue is going to blow up in Irvine, and lawsuits will come forward fast and furious—it's just a matter of time,"

http://www.eltoronow.com/

"NOTICE: This domain name expired on 09/28/2011 and is pending renewal or deletion"

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 02:53:14 PM »
You gotta pay to play  ???
#FARM

Offline oakcreekrenter

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2011, 04:09:40 PM »
I should probably clarify my initial post a little for those who haven't come across this issue before.  TCE was always known to be toxic and potentially carcinogenic, especially to young children and seniors.

Link to EPA PDF on TCE toxicity: http://1.usa.gov/rnnpJ3

How do you get exposed to TCE?  TCE is a volatile organic chemical (VOC) which means it can travel through soil and then evaporate into the air above it.  Which is not necessarily bad except that this poses risk in residential and commercial buildings where the vapors can build up to levels that exceed the EPA guidelines (the "vapor intrusion pathway"). 

EPA PDF on the vapor intrusion pathway: http://1.usa.gov/nFUfXC

The EPA issued guidelines for cleanup of TCE at Superfund sites like El Toro Marine Base to the point where the risks to the public health were considered acceptable.  In 2001, a preliminary report came out that indicated that TCE was even more toxic/carcinogenic than previous research had indicated, between 5 to 65 times more toxic, which meant that the levels of acceptable TCE exposure set out by the EPA were probably still too high.  So clean up efforts which were targeted to bring down TCE levels in the environment to the previous standards weren't good enough.  Of course, the people who would have to pay for additional cleanup (i.e. the Defense Department and corporate interests) weren't going to pay for additional cleanup measures until the research could be finalized - which happened today apparently.

This affects a large portion of Irvine because a plume of TCE in the ground traveled from El Toro to underneath Woodbridge.  And while efforts to clean it up have been ongoing for some time, they were targeted at the PREVIOUS STANDARD. 

Now, how much more risk is there actually?  If I understand the report correctly, the lifetime extra risk of developing a related cancer due to unsafe levels of TCE exposure is 0.00996, or 1%.  So 1 in 100 people may develop a cancer they would not normally get (that's over a lifetime, not annually).  Seems pretty high to me. 

Offline Nous

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 05:13:06 PM »
I should probably clarify my initial post a little for those who haven't come across this issue before.  TCE was always known to be toxic and potentially carcinogenic, especially to young children and seniors.

Link to EPA PDF on TCE toxicity: http://1.usa.gov/rnnpJ3

How do you get exposed to TCE?  TCE is a volatile organic chemical (VOC) which means it can travel through soil and then evaporate into the air above it.  Which is not necessarily bad except that this poses risk in residential and commercial buildings where the vapors can build up to levels that exceed the EPA guidelines (the "vapor intrusion pathway"). 

EPA PDF on the vapor intrusion pathway: http://1.usa.gov/nFUfXC

The EPA issued guidelines for cleanup of TCE at Superfund sites like El Toro Marine Base to the point where the risks to the public health were considered acceptable.  In 2001, a preliminary report came out that indicated that TCE was even more toxic/carcinogenic than previous research had indicated, between 5 to 65 times more toxic, which meant that the levels of acceptable TCE exposure set out by the EPA were probably still too high.  So clean up efforts which were targeted to bring down TCE levels in the environment to the previous standards weren't good enough.  Of course, the people who would have to pay for additional cleanup (i.e. the Defense Department and corporate interests) weren't going to pay for additional cleanup measures until the research could be finalized - which happened today apparently.

This affects a large portion of Irvine because a plume of TCE in the ground traveled from El Toro to underneath Woodbridge.  And while efforts to clean it up have been ongoing for some time, they were targeted at the PREVIOUS STANDARD. 

Now, how much more risk is there actually?  If I understand the report correctly, the lifetime extra risk of developing a related cancer due to unsafe levels of TCE exposure is 0.00996, or 1%.  So 1 in 100 people may develop a cancer they would not normally get (that's over a lifetime, not annually).  Seems pretty high to me.

There are thousands of people living in the contamination zone, so if you live in Irvine you'll probably know someone that was impacted by this.  Something else to keep in mind is many people in this area like gardening.  Deep root plants can actually break into the contaminated water and bear toxic fruit.  Eating such fruit can cause cancer and birth defects and so on.  The plume can spread further and the clean up can lead to massive work getting done "in your backyard".  I was personally worried about the toxins before, this article only makes it worse.

On the other hand, don't eat fruit/veggies grown in Irvine and you'd probably suffer no extra ill effects.

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 05:21:29 PM »
So doesn't this mean that all those homes being built in the Great Park are doomed?
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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 05:31:32 PM »
So doesn't this mean that all those homes being built in the Great Park are doomed?
And all those homes built on the Tustin base too?
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Offline The California Court Company

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 07:41:01 PM »
So doesn't this mean that all those homes being built in the Great Park are doomed?
And all those homes built on the Tustin base too?

Doesn't Great Park also have radium contamination as well?
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Offline villagepeople

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 07:57:19 PM »
So doesn't this mean that all those homes being built in the Great Park are doomed?
And all those homes built on the Tustin base too?

If you look at the map the plume is at the south west corner of el toro plus parts of oak creek and stretches to Woodbridge.

http://bit.ly/ovz6yw

I would be lying to you if I say it doesn't concern me at all cause you never know what they'll say 20 years from now but then again if I am screwed it would probably be from growing up in the sgv which is also a superfund site...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Superfund_sites_in_California
« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 09:25:33 PM by villagepeople »

Offline frank69m

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 08:09:21 PM »
Toxic Plume's don't go up hill. That's why you guys should buy in Quail Hill :-)

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Offline oakcreekrenter

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Re: EPA's final analysis of TCE - causes cancer (well duh)
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2011, 09:14:48 PM »
So does the new EPA conclusion mean that there is some danger from living above a TCE plume?


Looking at that site, the IWD concludes:

Quote
Is there a risk of TCE vapors rising out of the TCE plume from the former ETMCAS base and contaminating homes and businesses over the plume?

No. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has determined that there is no risk of TCE vapors emanating from the TCE plume and contaminating existing homes and businesses located above the plume. The US EPA will continue to evaluate the groundwater data from the Woodbridge area to ensure that the plume does not present a risk for residents in this area. Contact Rich Muza of the US EPA, at (415) 972-3349 or muza.richard@epa.gov for further information.

It is incorrect to conclude that TCE vapors could be present in homes overlying the plume simply because TCE vapors have been found in homes in other areas of the United States where TCE is present in groundwater. The following three existing conditions prevent TCE vapors from migrating from the plume to the ground surface: 1) layers of soil, rock and water, as confirmed by technical mapping of the groundwater basin, seal off and restrict the ability of TCE (in liquid or gaseous form) from moving though these layers to the surface; 2) TCE dissolved in water can only transform into a gaseous state under dry conditions, which is impossible in the Woodbridge area due to the observed presence of layers of shallow groundwater without TCE; and 3) the natural vertical flow of the groundwater is downward, thereby causing the plume to also trend downward, not upward toward the ground surface. Because of these conditions, it is impossible for TCE vapors to emanate from the plume and migrate through the soil to the surface.

That is somewhat reassuring with regards to the Woodbridge homes.  Not sure if this is true for homes along the entire path of the plume, or to be built on the Great Park.  In Mountain View, the EPA actually tested for TCE levels inside residential and commercial buildings.  I wonder if they've gone to that level here.

Regardless, this information just reinforces my opinion that moving every 7-10 years to different neighborhoods is preferable to staying for 30 years in any one particular neighborhood.  Every neighborhood probably has some sort of pollutant around - I'm sure Oak Creek has terrible air quality being next to the freeway, but I don't plan on living here longer than 5 years.  It's the repeated exposure over long periods of time that increases cancer risk. 

 

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