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TCE Concentration in New Mexico Community Water Systems: Annual Mean and Maximum TCE Concentration (Micrograms per Liter) and Year, 1999 to 2022

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Why Is This Important?

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound known as a chlorinated solvent and is widely used for cleaning and degreasing metal parts. TCE is used as an anesthetic and in veterinary medicine, a heat transfer medium, an extraction solvent for fats and oils, in textile processing industry to scour fabrics (e.g., cotton and wool), in dry-cleaning operations, and an intermediate for production of other chemicals (e.g., hydrofluorocarbons, pharmaceuticals, or insecticides). However, since January 2012, it has no longer been manufactured for domestic use in the U.S.1 TCE is present in the environment from its past industrial releases or other uses. It has been found in soil, ground water and surface water as a result of its use in manufacture, consumer products and disposal practices. People who live near facilities that use TCE or near hazardous waste sites containing TCE may have a higher exposure to TCE. It readily separates from contaminated soil and water into the air. However, it is expected to remain in ground water for long periods of time, because it cannot readily evaporate from groundwater as it would from surface waters. For the general public, TCE-contaminated drinking water and air are the most important sources of exposure to this solvent. Inhalation of airborne TCE is the primary exposure route for workers? exposure. TCE may enter indoor air from contaminated soils or shallow ground water through cracks in the foundation of a building or from household uses of TCE-containing water, including from dishwashing, bathing, showering, or flushing toilets. Ingestion of TCE-containing drinking water and inhalation of TCE-contaminated air are the major routes of exposure for the general population. It is well absorbed into the human body from the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and skin. Exposure to moderate to high amounts of TCE are associated with a number of adverse health effects, including central nervous system (CNS) depression, autoimmune system disorders (such as scleroderma), immune system dysfunction (such as immunosuppression or hypersensitivity dermatitis), and adverse birth outcomes (such as spontaneous abortions, congenital heart defects, orofacial clefts, neural tube defects, or hypospadias)2 Trichloroethylene is also known to be a human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of TCE and thus classified TCE as a Group 1 carcinogen3. TCE causes cancer of the kidney, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancer of the liver. References: 1. 2.; 3.


Trichloroethylene (TCE) concentrations (in micrograms of TCE per liter of water or mcg/L) in community drinking water systems (CWS) are combined with information about each CWS (such as service population) to generate the following measures shown in this report: 1) statewide TCE concentration distribution in CWSs by mean and maximum over time, 2) annual distribution of mean and maximum TCE concentration for persons served by CWS and 3) annual distribution of mean and maximum TCE concentration by CWS. EPHT data queries -- -- provide detailed results by year for 1) mean TCE concentration by CWS for a select year, 2) maximum TCE concentration by CWS for a select year, 3) mean TCE concentration and the number of CWS by year, 4) maximum TCE concentration and the number of CWS by year, 5) mean TCE concentration and the number of persons served by year or 6) maximum TCE concentration and the number of persons served by year. Additionally, users may query the number of persons served and the number of CWS in the state for a select year. A CWS is a public water system (PWS) that serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park that has at least 15 service connections or an average of at least 25 residents. These CWSs are a subset of all New Mexico PWSs. To measure TCE concentration in CWS, drinking water samples are usually taken at entry points to the distribution system or representative sampling points after water treatment has occurred. Data Source: New Mexico Environment Department's Drinking Water Bureau, New Mexico Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Measured TCE concentrations in finished drinking water can be used to understand the distribution of potential TCE exposure level for populations served by community water supplies. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. These measures allow for comparison of potential TCE exposure between the populations served by different water systems over time.

How the Measure is Calculated

  • Numerator:

    Concentration of TCE.
  • Denominator:

    Not applicable

Health Topic Pages Related to: Community Water: Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Indicator Data Last Updated On 08/14/2023, Published on 11/02/2023
Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Suite 1300, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Srikanth Paladugu, Bureau Chief,, or Chelsea Langer, Environmental Epidemiologist Supervisor,