Browsing by Subject Trichloroethanes

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World Health Organization; International Programme on Chemical Safety ( 1992 )

Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by 1,1,1-trichloroethane, a chlorinated hydrocarbon widely used in the cleaning and degreasing of metal and as a solvent in many industrial and consumer products. The abuse of this solvent has resulted in a large number of fatalities. A review of data on the environmental behaviour of 1,1,1-trichloroethane documents its ubiquitous presence in the atmosphere, its rapid transport to the troposphere, its long residence time, its depletion of ozone, and its contribution to global warming. Leaching into ground water and deep aquifers occurs and persistent contamination has been documented. While contamination of the atmosphere is judged to be the most important route of exposure for the general population, the report notes that indoor air may cause considerably higher exposures due to the use of numerous consumer products containing this solvent. Air is also noted to be the main source of exposure at the workplace. An evaluation of effects on humans draws upon studies of occupationally exposed workers and cases of fatal exposure following accidents and intentional abuse. Both acute and long-term inhalation exposures are noted to affect the central nervous system, with signs ranging from slight behavioural changes to unconsciousness. Exposure may also cause damage to the heart and liver. A review of accidents at the workplace underscores the especially dangerous conditions in poorly ventilated areas and confined spaces, such as tanks and vaults, caused by the compounds greater density than air. The final section evaluates effects on organisms in the field, concluding that environmental conamination is unlikely to pose a significant hazard for environmental organisms. Because of its many other hazards, including its ozone-depleting potential, the report recommends that the release of 1,1,1-trichloroethane be reduced to the greatest extent possible

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