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ABSTRACT: Trichloroethylene (TCE), a synthetic compound widely used in many occupational and non-occupational settings, is one of the leading environmental contaminants. In this paper, current information on sources, human exposure, metabolism, toxicology and health impact of TCE is reviewed. The central nervous system is the major target for TCE toxicity. This compound, however, can also exert toxic effects on other tissues and organs, for example the myocardium, the kidney and the liver. Several rodent bioassays indicate that TCE is a carcinogen for laboratory animals. Human carcinogenicity, however, is still controversial as there are limited epidemiological studies available for assessment and important species differences in metabolism that make extrapolation from animal studies more challenging. Current regulatory standards are discussed in connection with the analysis of technical and medical prevention.
Giornale italiano di medicina del lavoro 13(1-6):17-25.