Trichloroethylene exposure may cause a number of health complications. Trichloroethylene is a colorless liquid that smells similar to chloroform and has a wide range of applications. Its primary function is that of a solvent, and one of its many applications is the removal of grease from metal components.

However, too much trichloroethylene exposure can cause harm and discomfort, such as irritation and nausea. You can be exposed to this chemical by breathing air that is contaminated, or drinking water that has trichloroethylene. Workers who might be at risk of trichloroethylene are:

  • Workers who use this to clean grease off metals
  • People who work in dry cleaning use it to get rid of spots
  • People who work with chemicals to make other chemicals


Trichloroethylene exposure is classified into two types:

  • Acute exposure
  • Chronic exposure


Trichloroethylene exposure can cause the following symptoms:

  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Liver damage
  • Death

There is currently no treatment available for trichloroethylene; instead, supportive care should be provided. In any scenario where trichloroethylene exposure is detected, removing the person from that exposure should minimize or eliminate symptoms.


In order to determine the degree of trichloroethylene exposure, the doctor will examine the dosage, duration, and the job that a patient has been doing using the chemical. The presence of the chemical may also be detected through:

  • Breath test– the most precise assessment procedure for small levels
  • Urine and blood test- the assessment procedure in detecting larger amounts

However, these procedures may only be available on certain laboratories.


Unfortunately, treatment for trichloroethylene exposure is still unavailable. The best thing to do as treatment is to eliminate or lessen the exposure to such chemical. It is also important to immediately get rid of or take off clothing that has been in contact with trichloroethylene.

Meanwhile, if trichloroethylene is contacted through the eyes or skin, the affected area should immediately be washed with clean water. Then, seek immediate medical care.

Althought treatment procedures for trichloroethylene exposure are still undiscovered, you may still be able to reduce the risk of exposure through the following:

  • Wearing respirators if your working area has no exhaust ventilation
  • Wearing protective gear
  • Thoroughly washing after handling trichloroethylene
  • Being well-informed about the safety hazards for trichloroethylene

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