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Vapor intrusion and health

A blue stethoscope laying on a desk next to a laptop
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Vapor intrusion and health

Health risks are different for each person and each chemical. The amount of chemical exposure, the length of time exposed to a chemical, and the general health of the person all play a part in how vapor intrusion could affect someone’s health.

Under certain conditions, chemical vapors could build up in your home or business. Most often, you cannot see or smell the chemical(s) that may be present.

Exposure to chemical vapors may increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems. These include impairment of cognitive and motor functions, harm to the immune system, kidney damage, liver damage, and various types of cancer. Some of these chemicals are a concern for women who are pregnant as they pose a higher risk of birth defects.

Chemicals often linked to vapor intrusion include...


A widely used chemical found in gasoline and other petroleum products

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

A chemical used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing; also in products such as stain removers

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

A chemical used in to remove grease from metal parts; was also used in dry cleaning

Vinyl chloride

A man-man industrial chemical used to make PVC plastic products

Have questions or concerns?

If you are experiencing health concerns and suspect it could be related to vapor intrusion, talk to your healthcare provider.

For general questions about vapor intrusion and how it may affect your health, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) at 800-648-6942.

Coping with the stress environmental contamination can cause

Environmental contamination in your community can disrupt life as usual. Feeling stress is a normal reaction to this unusual situation.

This fact sheet discusses some reasons people feel stress about environmental contamination, what you can do to support your health if you feel stress, and who to contact if you need help dealing with stress. 

Find ways to cope