Kansas reportedly allowed hundreds of residents to consume water contaminated by toxic dry-cleaning chemicals for years.
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The state found groundwater tainted by dry cleaning chemicals in Haysville, a suburb of Wichita, in 2011. But the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) did not investigate further for six years, The Wichita Eagle reported on Sunday. After discovering the presence of pollutants, the department did not test nearby private wells or alert residents that their water could be contaminated with Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or PCE, the publication reported. Since 1995, when the Kansas Drycleaner Environmental Response Act was passed, the number of dry-cleaning locations known to be contaminated has increased from 14 to 163, even though the state is not actively searching for more sites.
The EPA states “effects resulting from acute (short term) high-level inhalation exposure of humans to tetrachloroethylene include irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, kidney dysfunction, and neurological effects such as reversible mood and behavioral changes, impairment of coordination, dizziness, headache, sleepiness, and unconsciousness. The primary effects from chronic (long term) inhalation exposure are neurological, including impaired cognitive and motor neurobehavioral performance. Tetrachloroethylene exposure may also cause adverse effects in the kidney, liver, immune system and hematologic system, and on development and reproduction. Studies of people exposed in the workplace have found associations with several types of cancer including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma.”