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OIL, HEATING, EXPOSURE HAZARDS, LIMITS
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PET ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
PET STAINS & MARKS in BUILDINGS
PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING
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PVC - VINYL BUILDING PRODUCTS
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
METHANE GAS HAZARDS
SEPTIC SYSTEM ODORS
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SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
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SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
UFFI UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION
URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
Vinyl chloride or PVC Health hazards in or at buildings or from building products: this article discusses possible health effects of exposure to vinyl-chloride (PVC - polyvinyl chloride) and hPVC and gives references to more scholarly information sources. To improve clarity and provide public information we include here information from several US government sources including the US EPA and the US ATSDR, Department of health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry
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What are the Possible Hazards Associated with Vinyl Building Products, Production, Odors in Normal Use, or During Demolition, Disposal, Combustion in Fires?
Plastic odors and the detection & source-diagnosis of many common odor sources observed some installations of vinyl exterior building siding or in other plastic or vinyl building products such as windows and trim are discussed at VINYL Siding or Window PLASTIC ODORS.
For a more broad approach to diagnosing building odor sources, see ODORS, Smells, Gases in Buildings-Diagnosis & Cure and see our ODOR DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST, PROCEDURE
The argument about the actual level of health hazard from vinyl product odors (plastic smells) in normal residential use (such as odors from vinyl siding or windows) is ongoing.
Clearly the chief health concerns most sources cite for PVC building products such as vinyl siding appear to be health risks to the workers during production (dioxin, the most powerful carcinogenic substance known), and health risks later (HCL and dioxin) if the material is burned - say as waste or in a house fire. Dioxin is almost certainly released at harmful levels in those cases.
Disposal of plastic building products by burial means those products are likely to remain intact for a very very long time. Disposal by burning is likely to be dangerous, releasing dangerous levels of dioxin and HCL. For disposal of vinyl products a different process, thermal depolymerization, has been developed to convert the plastic into fuel and minerals, but it's not widely used.
At some buildings occupants complain (to us by email) of odors and outgassing that is on occasion traced to vinyl siding, vinyl window products, building trim, or window screens (see PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING). We suspect that suspect that the chemistry of gases may be different for each plastic-containing material. In vinyl siding or vinyl windows or trim the building material used would be uPVC or Rigid PVC.
We have not found a reliable source documenting the chemistry of such odors, but some sources cite possible outgassing of dioxin and HCL (probably at very low levels), and one unsubstantiated source (no authoritative citations) claimed formaledhyde outgassing (doubtful). Prudent avoidance may be in order from even these odors, especially for people at particular health risk, such as asthmatics or infants and the elderly.
Most home inspectors do not provide environmental and odor diagnosis. But if your question is tracking down the odor source, any building occupant might be able to handle this perfectly well yourself following the odor patch test process we describe at SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors. Before blaming building siding or windows on an odor, be sure you've properly tracked down the odor source. Also see ODORS, Smells, Gases in Buildings-Diagnosis & Cure.
Vinyl & Vinyl Chloride Possible Health Hazard Information Provided Here - Dioxin (potent carcinogen) & HCL
Synonyms for vinyl chloride include chloroethene, chloroethylene, 1-chloroethylene, ethylene monochloride, monochloroethylene, monovinyl chloride, MVC, VC, VCM, and vinyl chloride monomer. The following is quoted from the US ATSDR.
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PVC Vinyl Building Products, Odors, Hazards Information can be found at InspectAPedia.com® - Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair, & Problem Prevention Advice. Unbiased information, no conflicts of interest.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Vinyl Chloride gases, smells, hazards, & vinyl siding, windows, or other building products
Question: health risks of vinyl siding
I bought a home two years ago that was built in the 1920's. The siding was redone, maybe 10- 15 years ago.
I've always wanted to replace the [vinyl] siding [on my home] because I was aware that there may be health risks associated to the material.
I would like to know if there really are risks to inhabitants, especially children, and what those risks are.
If it is recommended to remove the siding, what is the best way to dispose of the material? - S.V.Z.
Reply: Is Installed vinyl siding on homes a health hazard?
The principal health risks associated with vinyl siding are those that can occur during the manufacturing process and thus the hazards were or could be to workers in the siding manufacturing facilities.
Once having been installed on a home, risks to building occupants from vinyl siding or other vinyl products would occur only if the material is burned, as there could be toxic offgassing from the material in a fire.
Finally, we have received a few building odor complaints that were traced to offgassing from vinyl and other plastic products, particularly when exposed to heat and sunlight, such as odd chemical smells that we have traced not to vinyl siding products, but to certain window screen materials and to some vinyl window sashes and frames in retrofit windows. See PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING for details.
Otherwise, the answer to your question is no. There is no health justification for removing installed vinyl siding from a building.
Should Vinyl Siding be a Removed?
We do not recommend removal of the vinyl siding on on your home unless it is badly damaged. Some early vinyl siding products have been found to be easily cracked or broken, and others to fade in color. Siding that is damaged may leak wind-driven rain into building walls and should therefore be repaired or replaced. Faded vinyl siding is only a cosmetic issue.
How Should I Dispose of Vinyl Siding Scrap or Waste Material?
When we have had to dispose of vinyl siding during construction products we have taken the material to public waste disposal sites that accept construction debris. We have seen cases of builders who disposed of vinyl siding scraps by burying them on the building site. Not only is this prohibited in many communities, but burying a material that will not biodegrade is a poor practice that does not respect future property owners nor the environment.
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