The Alliance For A Clean Environment
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Vinyl Chloride

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What is Vinyl Chloride?

A colorless gas with a mild, sweet odor, vinyl chloride is used in the manufacture of many products. Also known by the brand names chloroethene, chloroethylene, and ethylene monochloride, vinyl chloride is most commonly used to produce polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. PVC is often used in the building, construction, automobile, furniture, glass, and plastic industries. Pipes and wire coatings are two specific examples of products in which PVC is used.

How Are Humans Exposed to Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride can be released into air or water through evaporation or dissolution. When vinyl chloride is released through the breakdown of other chemicals, it can enter into groundwater. In addition, vinyl chloride in the air can itself break down into other dangerous substances.

Most people who are exposed to vinyl chloride come into contact with the substance in a workplace environment. There is higher risk for those who work in industries manufacturing PVC products and those who work near plastic facilities, landfills, or hazardous materials locations. Breathing air contaminated with vinyl chloride is the most common means of being exposed, although drinking water that has been polluted with the chemical can also constitute exposure.

What Is the Problem with Vinyl Chloride Exposure?

Vinyl chloride can cause numerous physical problems in humans, including cancer, damage to the immune, nervous, and circulatory systems. The Department of Health and Human Services has also asserted that vinyl chloride causes liver cancer in humans. These problems occur depending in part on the length and intensity of contact. Breathing low levels of the chemical can lead to disorientation and dizziness. Higher levels of exposure can cause fainting or death. Long-term exposure has been known to lead to serious health problems, including liver, brain, and lung cancer. In general, greater exposure-either contact over a longer duration or in a higher concentration-yields greater risk of health problems.

source: Vinyl Chloride Lawyers FYI -

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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