Certain chemicals that
get spilled or discharged into the ground emit gases, or vapors, that can move
through the soil. These vapors may enter a house or building through cracks,
holes, drains, and other small openings in a basement floor, wall, or foundation
slab. This is called vapor intrusion. It is similar to how radon, a naturally
occurring gas, enters a house or building.
Common chemicals that
have been found in vapor intrusion sites in Michigan include trichloroethylene
(TCE, used often as a metal parts degreaser), tetrachloroethylene (PCE or Perc,
used in dry cleaners), and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene (BTEX,
associated with gas stations). The
potential for health risks is dependent on the type and concentration of
chemical or compound that is detected.
The Livingston County Health Department (LCHD)
is working collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
to evaluate the potential for indoor air quality health risks in areas with
historical groundwater contamination sites.