The Health Hazards of Using TCE: An Overview

Trichloroethylene — abbreviated as TCE — has a halocarbon formulation that makes it highly effective as a general degreaser. However, over time, the chemical has been identified as a major health risk for those who apply it, or work in and around the area of application.

In this entry, we list the well-known, negative health effects of acute and chronic exposure to TCE, the financial impact it can have on companies, and what companies should do to find a TCE replacement that possesses the same efficacy as TCE, but without causing all of the negative side effects in workers.

Health Effects of Acute Exposure

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), the health hazards of using TCE in an acute capacity routinely cause the following negative health outcomes, among others.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Headaches
  • Mucous membrane
  • Skin irritation
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased reaction time
  • CNS depression

As with other toxic solvents that produce negative health effects from acute exposure, these conditions often disappear within a few hours or a few days of non-exposure to the offending agent. However, the effects can still have a negative impact on companies in three potential ways: increased number of sick days taken, poor performance on the workfloor, and physical injuries due to drowsiness and decreased reaction time.

Health Effects of Chronic Exposure

According to the ATSDR, the health hazards of using TCE in a chronic capacity commonly cause the following negative health conditions, among others.

  • A reduced number of word associations
  • Ataxia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Vertigo
  • CNS depression

As with chronic exposure to other types of solvents that are hazardous to human health, long-term exposure to TCE can result in negative conditions that persist after TCE exposure is removed. For companies, in addition to causing the problems that acute TCE exposure causes, chronic exposure commonly leads to workers compensation claims and chemical injury lawsuits that precipitate costly settlements.

It should also be noted that, because the lawsuits can make the news, chronic TCE exposure can also harm a company’s business prospects by compromising its reputation among consumers and other businesses. Today, many individuals and businesses strongly prefer working with companies that have a “green” business profile.

How to Find a TCE Replacement

The best way to find a TCE replacement that cleans powerfully and safely is to contact a supplier of stock and custom eco friendly cleaning agents, such as Ecolink. We have considerable experience in helping companies and organizations implement TCE replacements that demonstrate the degreasing power of TCE and are much safer for workers to use. To prove the point, we’ll even provide you with a sample of replacement solvent you can use for free.

To get started on implementing a TCE replacement that is better for your workers and the environment, please call us today at (800) 563-1305, or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to helping you find an efficacious replacement that lacks the health hazards of using TCE.