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Chemical Exposure of our Military Personnel

CARBON TETRACHOLORIDE
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CARBON TETRACHLORIDE EXPOSURE

Carbon tetrachloride does not occur naturally. It is a manufactured chemical also known as carbon chloride, methane tetrachloride, perchloromethane, tetrachloroethane, or benziform. It was used in the production of refrigeration fluid and propellants for aerosol cans, as a pesticide, as a cleaning fluid and degreasing agent, in fire extinguishers, and in spot removers. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gove/tfacts30.html) Carbon tetrachloride has been used at military nuclear materials storage facilities primarily for cleaning and degreasing product components and equipment used to manufacture nuclear weapons parts. These included plutonium and uranium glovebox walls, furnaces, machinery and instruments.

High exposure to carbon tetrachloride can cause liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that carbon tetrachloride may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that carbon tetrachloride is possibly carcinogenic to humans, whereas the EPA determined that carbon tetrachloride is a probable human carcinogen. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gove/tfacts30.html)

Exposure to carbon tetrachloride may come from breathing contaminated air near manufacturing plants or waste sites; breathing workplace air when it is used; drinking contaminated water near manufacturing plants and waste sites; breathing contaminated air and skin contact with water while showering or cooking with contaminate water; swimming or bathing in contaminate water; and contact with or ingesting contaminated soil at waste sites. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gove/tfacts30.html)

Listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet produced by Matheson Tri-Gas are the potential health effects: INHALATION: SHORT TERM EXPOSURE: irritation, digestive disorders, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of

coordination, lung congestion, effects on the brain, convulsions, coma. LONG TERM EXPOSURE: irritation, digestive disorders, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, visual disturbances, lung congestion, kidney damage, liver damage, reproductive effects, effects on the brain, convulsions, coma, cancer, SKIN CONTACT: SHORT TERM EXPOSURE: irritation, rash, absorption may occur, digestive disorders, headache,

drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, lung congestion, effects on the brain, convulsions, coma. LONG TERM EXPOSURE: visual disturbances, kidney damage, liver damage, reproductive effects, cancer. One of the first aid measures listed on the MSDS is to give artificial respiration if not breathing. (http://www.matheson-trigas.com/msds/MAT04310.pdf)

The EPA has found short-term exposure to carbon tetrachloride to potentially cause the following health effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for relatively short periods of time: liver, kidney and lung damage. Long-term exposure of carbon tetrachloride has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL (5ppb): liver damage; cancer. (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/dw_contamfs/carbonte.html) The results of one study showed that substantial exposure to carbon tetrachloride or perchloroethylene appears to increase risk of lung cancer (2.19; 0.78 to 108.9, and 6.26; 0.97 to 40.28, respectively). (http://oem.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/61/11/e48)

It is well known that exposure to environmental and industrial chemicals can impair respiratory function. Acute exposure to respiratory toxicants can trigger effects ranging from mild irritation to death by asphyxiation. Prolonged exposure to respiratory toxicants can cause structural damage to the lungs, resulting in chronic diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and cancer. In addition, several toxicants are known to cause respiratory cancer.