Thursday, December 14, 2017

Yekaterinburg officials confirm trichlorethylene in water supply

Yekaterinburg's Department of Water and Sanitation confirmed last week that trace amounts of trichlorethylene, or TCE, a drug once popular in the U.S. and Europe for anesthesia, have been discovered in the city's water supply.

Officials pointed to the possibility that the pollutant is being discharged into the Upper Isetsky pond, one of the water system's primary sources of fresh water, MK.ru reports.

In recent years, many industrial enterprises have been constructed near the pond, of which some may have unwittingly introduced the chemical into the water system.

Trichlorethylene is commonly used as an industry solvent and was once a popular anesthetic. It lost popularity after it was discovered to have toxic effects on the liver and kidneys. Non-medical exposure symptoms include those similar to alcohol intoxication, including headache and dizziness with the possibility of progressing to unconsciousness, according to MK.ru.

Though the levels of the substance currently found in the city's drinking water exceed the highest amount allowed under Russian law, public health officials assured residents the water is safe to use for bathing and gardening if first boiled thoroughly.

A report from the Railway Administration District issued earlier this month urged residents not to use tap water for drinking or cooking, MK.ru reports.