Accidents Involving Toxic Vinyl Chloride Are Commonplace

The vinyl chloride industry made headlines across the country last winter when a train carrying the flammable, carcinogenic chemical derailed near the town of East Palestine, Ohio. News outlets published dystopian images of the smoke plume released by a controlled burn of the vinyl chloride cars, and thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.

Vinyl Institute, an industry trade group, (Vinyl Institute Refutes Petition to Ban Vinyl Chloride Monomer) “claims that decades of credible science that VCM [vinyl chloride monomer] is safely and responsibly manufactured in the United States.”

In February, a blog post published by the Institute asserted that 95 percent of vinyl chloride manufactured in the U.S. is transported by pipeline to facilities on the same property, and that train accidents involving vinyl chloride are “exceedingly rare.”

But the Vinyl Institute lies as shown in a new report published on Tuesday by Beyond Plastics and Earthjustice, the environmental law nonprofit, shows that derailments, leaks and other accidents are far from unusual in the vinyl chloride industry, casting doubt on the Institute’s narrative. In a comprehensive look at decades of manufacturing, storage and transportation-related incidents involving vinyl chloride, the report found that accidents have happened on average “once every five days since 2010.”

Part of the problem is the impact of accidents that release an acute pulse of vinyl chloride on the public.

The other part of the problem is the impact of chronic exposure on workers in vinyl chloride manufacturing.

In addition to cancer and liver damage, chronic exposure to vinyl chloride causes the finger bones to resorb. I was horrified to see X-rays of hands of workers with almost no bone in the ends of their fingers. (In a TV program on the subject.)

OSHA now has regulations on worker exposure to vinyl chloride.

But the question is how closely the regulations are actually followed at the manufacturing plants. I have personal experience of a yes-person who was a stooge of management in a manufacturing plant where I worked that knew about but failed to remedy perfluorocarbon entrainment into the air intake for my office, permanently damaging my lungs.



Vinyl chloride is also produced as a combustion product in tobacco smoke

I would not be able to put a percentage on it but this has done a bit of damage to me years ago. Nonsmoker for 34 years. Feel I should have a bit more lung capacity.

Separate notes

Is PVC harmful to humans?

Many children’s school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, can be made out of PVC-a toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment. PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health.

Department of Human Services | PVC – a major source of phthalates.

My comment plumbers are putting PVC everywhere.

1 Like