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California Residents Concerned over Trichloroethylene and Vapor Intrusion

IAQ Index™ provides test kits to help identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to vapor intrusion in homes, offices and schools.


Last month, Palo Alto’s Mountain View Voice published a story about concerns over toxic chemicals at a former military housing complex.  The focus has been on Orion Park ever since trichloroethylene (TCE) has been found in the groundwater and from air samples taken from buildings on the site.  The TCE is believed to have contaminated the area from its years of military use. 
Last September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their final health assessment for TCE.  The document states, “The final assessment characterizes the chemical as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard.”  The document goes on to report, “TCE is one of the most common man-made chemicals found in the environment. It is a volatile chemical and a widely used chlorinated solvent. Frequently found at Superfund sites across the country, TCE’s movement from contaminated ground water and soil, into the indoor air of overlying buildings, is of serious concern.”
As a volatile organic compound (VOC), TCE readily vaporizes.  Due to this condition, structures built above the many contaminated grounds across the country could face problems with TCE entering occupied spaces through the process of vapor intrusion.
“Vapor intrusion occurs when there is a migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil into a structure built above the area,” reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index, an indoor air quality (IAQ) test kit manufacturer.  “Volatile chemicals, such as TCE, can emit vapors that migrate through subsurface soils and into indoor air spaces of overlying buildings in ways similar to that of radon gas.  These problems due to vapor intrusion and volatile organic compounds occur nationwide in many areas.  High levels of VOCs in indoor spaces also occur due to the off-gassing of home furnishing, building materials and even consumer products.  To help people test for VOCs, IAQ Index developed an easy to use test kit that will provide results for the ambient air anywhere the kit is used,” he continued.
To learn more about testing for volatile organic compounds, please visit IAQ Index at, email or call (888) 259-3883.
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues.  IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys.  The approach is similar to the EPA’s Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.


 Vapor Intrusion
 Indoor Air Quality
 Air Testing

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