Photograph of - damaged vinyl siding Vinyl Chloride & (PVC) Polyvinyl Chloride Health Hazards
US EPA / ATSDR information, part 2

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PVC & Vinyl Chloride health hazards:

This article (part 2) discusses US EPA-provided information on 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.

Our page top photo shows vinyl siding damaged by use of a barbecue grill placed too close to the building exterior wall of a home in Port Jervis, NY - a potential fire hazard. (The grill had been removed when we took this picture). Owners noticed a "plastic odor" when they were cooking outdoors!

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Vinyl Chloride & (PVC) Polyvinyl Chloride Health Hazard Information - US EPA

Article Contents

Vinyl & Vinyl Chloride Possible Health Hazard Information Provided Here - Dioxin (potent carcinogen) & HCL


PVC Polyvinyl Chloride Hazard Summary-Created in April 1992; Revised in January 2000

The following information was obtained from the US EPA, to which we have made a few [additions of content from other sources and occasional edits for clarity].

Most vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products.  Acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in air has resulted in central nervous system effects (CNS), such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches in humans.

Chronic (long-term) exposure to vinyl chloride through inhalation and oral exposure in humans has resulted in liver damage.  Cancer is a major concern from exposure to vinyl chloride via inhalation, as vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer in humans.  EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen.

Uses [of PolyVinyl Chloride]

Sources and Potential Exposure [of Vinyl Chloride]

How to Assess, Test for or Measure Personal Exposure to Vinyl Chloride (polyvinyl chloride)

Health Hazard Information about Vinyl Chloride Exposure, Acute & Chronic

Also see HEALTH EFFECTS of Exposure to General "Plastic" Odors or "Vinyl" Odors in the Home

Acute Effects [of exposure to vinyl chloride]:

Chronic Effects(Noncancer) [of exposure to vinyl chloride]:

Reproductive/Developmental Effects [of exposure to vinyl chloride]:

Cancer Risk [of exposure to vinyl chloride]:

Physical Properties of vinyl chloride or polyvinyl chloride

Table of Health Data from Inhalation Exposure to Vinyl Chloride

EPA Table on Vinyl Chloride Exposure Hazards

ACGIH TLV--American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists' threshold limit value expressed as a time-weighted average; the concentration of a substance to which most workers can be exposed without adverse effects.

LC50 (Lethal Concentration50)--A calculated concentration of a chemical in air to which exposure for a specific length of time is expected to cause death in 50% of a defined experimental animal population.

OSHA PEL--Occupational Safety and Health Administration's permissible exposure limit expressed as a time-weighted average: the concentration of a substance to which most workers can be exposed without adverse effect averaged over a normal 8-h workday or a 40-h workweek.

OSHA PEL ceiling value--OSHA's permissible exposure limit ceiling value; the concentration of a substance that should not be exceeded at any time.

Conversion Factors [for table on health data about Inhalation of Vinyl Chloride Gas]
To convert concentrations in air (at 25°C) from ppm to mg/m3: mg/m3 = (ppm) × (molecular weight of the compound)/(24.45).  For vinyl chloride: 1 ppm = 2.6 mg/m3To convert concentrations in air from µg/m3 to mg/m3: mg/m3 = (µg/m3) × (1 mg/1,000 µg).

The health and regulatory values cited in this factsheet were obtained in December 1999.
aHealth numbers are toxicological numbers from animal testing or risk assessment values developed by EPA.
bRegulatory numbers are values that have been incorporated in Government regulations, while advisory numbers are nonregulatory values provided by the Government or other groups as advice.  OSHA numbers are regulatory, whereas ACGIH numbers are advisory.
cThe LOAEL is from the critical study used as the basis for the ATSDR intermediate-duration inhalation MRL.
dThe LOAEL is from the critical study used as the basis for the CalEPA chronic inhalation reference exposure level.

Standards and Guidelines for [Industrial] Exposure to Vinyl Chloride

The following is quoted from the US ATSDR.

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

Plastic & Vinyl Odor & Exposure Articles


Continue reading at VINYL SIDING or WINDOWS PLASTIC ODORS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH HAZARDS US EPA at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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