TCP (or 1,2,3-Trichloropropane) is just now starting to draw the attention it deserves as a dangerous water contaminant. The substance, which is a byproduct of a variety of chemical reactions used in industries, is also occasionally intentionally manufactured for industrial use. It is primarily a high powered solvent used to thin paint or degrease machinery. Unfortunately, it is also highly toxic to humans.
Workplace exposure to TCP has been identified as a problem for years. Side effects of exposure, which traditionally occurred with TCP fumes, include:
- Throat irritation
- Eye irritation
- Decreased kidney function
Though no side effects are good, the consequences of short-term workplace exposure are comparatively small compared to the effects of long-term exposure. Long-term exposure is usually through the water supply, as TCP seeps through the soil all the way down to groundwater. The chemical compound is notoriously difficult to remove from the water supply once it has infiltrated it.
The United States government has hesitated to label TCP a carcinogen, though the state of California has moved to regulate it, even as TCP has been found in the water supply of much of the state. Recent research indicates this isn’t limited to California, and that the water supply in many other states might also be contaminated, resulting in a public health crisis.
Dow Chemicals and Shell have been the major creators of TCP over the years, and they continue to deny that the chemical should be regulated. This is a familiar refrain from companies, seen with asbestos and nicotine and many other carcinogens over the years. Taking the companies at their word would be a dangerous choice for the government to make.
TCP is not the only water contaminant out there. Thousands of Americans suffer due to water pollution every year. If you suspect that you have been a victim, please contact an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case. Determining the extent of your exposure is the first step in holding polluters accountable for their actions.