2009 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 08:02:51 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Carbon Tet in outdoor air
[This article states that carbon tetrachloride (unlike PCE and TCE) degrades slowly in the air, so it's unclear whether the elevated background levels are coming from underground plumes or from past air emissions. - LS]

Toxic 'carbon tet' lingers in air near schools

By James Bruggers
May 19, 2009

For much of the 20th century, carbon tetrachloride was regarded as a miracle chemical: It was used to put out fires, degrease machines, kill bugs, dry-clean clothing and even help stamp collectors detect forgeries.

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, most of those uses were discontinued for health and safety reasons. Then came what appeared to be the final blow: Thirteen years ago, carbon tetrachloride and other chemicals that were eating up the Earth's ozone layer were banned or restricted under the Montreal Protocol. The treaty, ratified years earlier by the United States and 193 other countries, was designed to protect the layer of the atmosphere that filters the sun's dangerous ultraviolet radiation.


USA TODAY monitored for toxic chemicals, including carbon tetrachloride, in the air outside 95 schools in 30 states. Carbon tetrachloride was detected at 70 of the schools. Exposures ranged from levels that could raise the risk of 70 additional cancers in a population of 1 million if people were exposed to them throughout their lives to a lower risk of four additional cancers in the same population.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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