What Types of Cancer Does Vinyl Chloride Cause?
Vinyl chloride is a type of colorless compound used in industrial industries to produce polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The United States is the largest VCM manufacturing country because of the substance’s low-production-cost position in chlorine and ethylene raw materials. Since the 1930s, people have known about the severe damage the chemical could cause to peoples’ livers. Another study done in 1970 reported that test animals exposed to 30,000 ppm of vinyl chloride developed cancerous tumors.
Later in the 1960s, workers exposed to vinyl chloride presented different types of cancer. One man from a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, developed angiosarcoma, a rare cancer, in his liver. It has also been liked to brain and lung tumors and malignant haematopoietic lymphatic tumors. According to the National Cancer Institute, the substance has also been linked to lymphoma and leukemia.
The people most at risk for vinyl chloride exposure are workers at facilities where the material is produced or might be exposed mainly through inhalation. Those in the general public who are exposed to vinyl chloride will inhale the substance through contaminated air or tobacco smoke. In some cases, if a water supply is contaminated, vinyl chloride can enter the household air when water is used for cooking, laundry, or showering.
Where Can I Be Exposed to Vinyl Chloride?
There are several ways a person can be exposed to vinyl chloride:
- PVC pipes. Vinyl chloride is most often used to produce PVC pipes. These are plastic pipes used in businesses and the home to save on the cost of more expensive, metal pipes. While handling a PVC pipe hasn’t been linked to any cancer development, it does contain harmful carcinogens that may be released if the tube is burned. In a building fire, for example, a PVC pipe will release dioxin, a super-toxic chemical released when plastic containing chlorine is burned. There is also some debate about PVC pipe disposal methods. If it isn’t incinerated properly, it could release toxins into the groundwater under landfills.
- Air. If you live too near a vinyl chloride processing plant, you could be inhaling the gas without knowing it. Vinyl chloride has been found in the air near manufacturing and processing plants, hazardous waste sites, and landfills. The amount of vinyl chloride found in these areas can range from trace amounts to more than 1 ppm. In some places, levels as high as 44 ppm were found in the air at some landfills.
- Smoking. Those exposed to tobacco smoke, such as cigarettes and cigars, will inhale some amount of vinyl chloride. While levels inhaled through direct and second-hand smoke are weak, it does account for a small percentage of how people are exposed to daily levels of vinyl chloride.
- Water. People can also be exposed to vinyl chloride through contaminated water. Most drinking water supplies don’t contain vinyl chloride. However, some wells could become contaminated. Tests done on groundwater supplies showed vinyl chloride was found in fewer than 1% of the 945 groundwater supplies tested in the United States. Likewise, there is no current information available about the amount of the substance released from PVC pipes into the water.
Vinyl Chloride Injury Lawyer in Texas
If you think your cancer was caused by overexposure to vinyl chloride at your job, don’t hesitate to call us. Shrader & Associates L.L.P. is a national litigation firm used to handling toxic exposure in cases across the country. Our skilled Texas mesothelioma attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of personal injury victims and their families, helping them recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.
Contact us at (877) 958-7920 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.