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Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Mar;121(3):303-11. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205879. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Human health effects of trichloroethylene: key findings and scientific issues.

Author information

1
National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, DC, USA. chiu.weihsueh@epa.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In support of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a toxicological review of trichloroethylene (TCE) in September 2011, which was the result of an effort spanning > 20 years.

OBJECTIVES:

We summarized the key findings and scientific issues regarding the human health effects of TCE in the U.S. EPA's toxicological review.

METHODS:

In this assessment we synthesized and characterized thousands of epidemiologic, experimental animal, and mechanistic studies, and addressed several key scientific issues through modeling of TCE toxicokinetics, meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies, and analyses of mechanistic data.

DISCUSSION:

Toxicokinetic modeling aided in characterizing the toxicological role of the complex metabolism and multiple metabolites of TCE. Meta-analyses of the epidemiologic data strongly supported the conclusions that TCE causes kidney cancer in humans and that TCE may also cause liver cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Mechanistic analyses support a key role for mutagenicity in TCE-induced kidney carcinogenicity. Recent evidence from studies in both humans and experimental animals point to the involvement of TCE exposure in autoimmune disease and hypersensitivity. Recent avian and in vitro mechanistic studies provided biological plausibility that TCE plays a role in developmental cardiac toxicity, the subject of substantial debate due to mixed results from epidemiologic and rodent studies.

CONCLUSIONS:

TCE is carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure and poses a potential human health hazard for noncancer toxicity to the central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, male reproductive system, and the developing embryo/fetus.

PMID:
23249866
PMCID:
PMC3621199
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1205879
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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