OSAKA — High concentrations of organic chlorine compounds that can cause cancer were detected in groundwater at Matsushita group factory sites, it was announced Tuesday.
A concentration of tetrachloroethylene detected in water under a Matsushita Electronic Instrument Corp. factory in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, was 9,400 times higher than the environmental standard set by the government, according to the Takatsuki Municipal Government.
At a Matsushita Electronic Components Co. factory in Kadoma and a Matsushita Battery Industrial Co. plant in Moriguchi, both in Osaka Prefecture, cys-1,2-dichloroethylene was detected in the groundwater.
The water at the Kadoma factory had a concentration 500 times higher than the environmental standard, while that at the Moriguchi plant was 160 times higher, according to the prefecture. Matsushita officials said they have already taken steps to purify the water and prevent the contaminated water from flowing out of the sites.
The results of a concurrent study at 23 wells around the three sites show that only a well in Moriguchi contained such compounds, and the well’s water fell below the environmental standard.
At the Takatsuki plant, 524 tons of tetrachloroethylene had been used between 1966 and 1994 as washing liquid. Until the early 1990s, the Kadoma factory had used 1,000 tons of trichloroethylene, while the Moriguchi plant used 888 tons of the same chemical, Matsushita officials said.
Such industrial chemicals had been commonly used and were presumed to be safe until 1989, when law revisions mandated that measures be taken to prevent them from soaking into the ground. The chemicals are now believed to have hazardous effects on the human body, such as causing cancer.
In a related matter, trichloroethylene was detected in groundwater at a Toshiba Corp. factory in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, the Osaka Prefectural Government said Tuesday.
The water had a concentration of the chemical, which is believed to cause cancer, three times higher than the environmental standard. The factory stopped using the chemical in 1975, according to the prefectural government.
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