Ground Water Contamination Can Destroy Property Values

City and suburban homes, and commerical real estate properties with independent municipal water supplies, can nonetheless be seriously devalued if underground contamination is discovered on the property. Industrial chemicals such as Tetrachloroethylene (also known as Perchloroethylene or PCE or PERC) and Trichloroethylene(TCE) are just two contaminants that can torpedo property values if they are found on your property. These two chemicals are commonly found contaminating the ground water around commercial dry cleaner operations. Tetrachloroethylene and Trichloroethylene have a high potential for vapor intrusion into the structures where they have leached into the soil and ground water. Both PCE and TCE can migrate in subsurface ground water.

Like many chlorinated hydrocarbons, Tetrachloroethylene is a central nervous system depressant and can enter the body through respiratory or skin exposure potentially resulting in skin irritation. Chronic exposure may adversely affect the neurological system, liver, and kidneys. When people breathe air containing Tetrachloroethylene, the PERC is taken into the body through the lungs and passed into the blood, which carries it to all parts of the body. Studies show a slightly increased risk of some types of cancer and reproductive effects among workers, including dry-cleaning workers, exposed to PERC, including cancers of the esophagus, bladder, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The reproductive effects associated with exposure included increased risks of spontaneous abortion, and menstrual disorders, and reduced fertility.

Trichloroethylene is a colorless liquid which is used as a solvent for cleaning. Drinking or breathing high levels of Trichloroethylene may cause nervous system effects, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma, and possibly death. Consuming even small amounts of Trichloroethylene for long periods may cause liver and kidney damage, impaired immune system function, and impaired fetal development in pregnant women.

Our firm is experienced with helping people who have had their properties and homes contaminated, whether from proximity to a landfill or petroleum storage facility, or commerical and industrial ventures like a dry cleaners or gas station or automotive repair shop. Feel free to give our attorneys a call if you have any questions concerning property contamination.


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