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TCE Vapor Intrusion Concerns have Some Palo Alto Residents on Edge

LA Testing provides laboratory services to identify trichloroethylene (TCE) from contaminated soil, water and due to vapor intrusion.

Garden Grove, CA – WEBWIRE
LA Testing Laboratory Locations
LA Testing Laboratory Locations

In February, The Stanford Daily published an article about concerns expressed by residents of Palo Alto’s College Terrace neighborhood. The issue revolves around a construction project at Stanford and the University’s plan to manage a toxic substance found at the construction site. Some nearby residents are also concerned about if the chemical is perhaps already present under their homes. 

Stanford found trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, in the soil at the location. TCE is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC) that was used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts and was also found in some adhesives, paint removers and spot removers. It breaks down slowly in soil and water and has been found in numerous contaminated underground water sources and surface waters across the country.

In California, trichloroethylene has been listed under Prop 65 as known to cause cancer since 1988. In 2014, it was also listed due to concerns over its ability to cause developmental issues.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Exposure to moderate amounts of trichloroethylene may cause headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness; large amounts may cause coma and even death. Eating or breathing high levels of trichloroethylene may damage some of the nerves in the face. Exposure to high levels can also result in changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat, liver damage, and evidence of kidney damage. Skin contact with concentrated solutions of trichloroethylene can cause skin rashes.” The ATSDR also reports, “There is strong evidence that trichloroethylene can cause kidney cancer in people and some evidence for trichloroethylene-induced liver cancer and malignant lymphoma.”

“People can be exposed to TCE through inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “Indoor air quality can be impacted by TCE that has migrated from contaminated soil and groundwater to the indoors through such things as cracks in a foundation in a process known as vapor intrusion. At LA Testing, we offer sampling supplies and TCE analysis to help determine if it and other chemicals are present in air, water or soil.”

LA Testing has sponsored an educational video about TCE and exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about testing for TCE or other air, water, soil or vapor intrusion issues, please visit, email  or call (800) 755-1794. 

About LA Testing

LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other substances.  In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states.  LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Garden Grove, San Leandro and San Diego.

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