Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is There a Deadly Intruder in My Home?

That’s the question residents of Elmira, NY are asking themselves lately as many families have discovered that their homes, near Facet Enterprises Superfund manufacturing plant, have been under a vaporous intrusion of a potentially deadly chemical. According to the E.P.A., elevated levels of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) have been found in at least 27 out of 103 homes tested. TCE, is a chemical whose emissions can rise above the soil and affect air quality in your home.

What’s worse than this? How about the fact that TCE is a probable human carcinogen – meaning it can be CANCER CAUSING – and it is a COMMONLY used industrial solvent! In a press release issued yesterday, an E.P.A. rep strongly encouraged Elmira residents to permit E.P.A. officials to sample the air quality in their homes with a warning, “Long-term exposure to these vapors can have serious health implications.” The E.P.A. goes on to say that they have systems that are effective at venting the air and making it safe for residents.

However, the reality is that cleanup methods have not always worked in the past and I worry about how well they will work in the future.

Alternatives to TCE exist and, in fact, have been implemented by many facilities. This site has info on how to make this change. If you or your friends and family live in Elmira, NY you can contact Congressman Eric Massa to demand Facet Enterprises Superfund and facilities like it switch to the safer solvents. It’s safe to bet facilities near all of us, anywhere in the country, are using toxic chemicals like TCE regularly. Contact your local official and tell them you don’t want an unseen, unheard, and deadly intruder in your home!

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