What Vinyl Chloride is:
What Vinyl Chloride is Used For:
Today, vinyl chloride is most commonly used to make a polymer called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is found in various plastic products, including wire insulation and packaging materials.
Vinyl chloride is also used in the manufacture of cigarette filters.
How Vinyl Chloride Gets Into the Human Body:
- Breathing air close to hazardous waste sites / landfill areas where plastics industries dump waste products.
- Breathing the air in a contaminated workspace where plastics are produced or used.
- Breathing cigarette or cigar smoke.
The Health Risks of Vinyl Chloride:
- The amount the person was exposed to.
- The frequency of exposure.
- The length of each exposure.
- The type of exposure; inhalation or ingestion.
When vinyl chloride enters the bloodstream, it goes to the liver, where it's then converted into other substances.
Vinyl chloride itself typically leaves the body within a day via the urine, but the substances produced in the liver take longer to exit the body. Some of these substances are more hazardous to human health than vinyl chloride because they react with chemicals normally present in the body and change how they are used / responded to physiologically.
Vinyl Chloride and Cancer:
Vinyl Chloride and Cigarettes:
Studies of long-term exposure to vinyl chloride in animals has shown that cancer of the liver and mammary gland may increase when very low levels of vinyl chloride are present in the air (50 ppm). While we do not know how much inhaled cigarette smoke it takes to manifest the health hazards of vinyl chloride, we do know that it contributes to cancer and is unhealthy to breathe in any quantity.
More on the Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke:
Follow the links below to read more about the hazardous chemicals that are present in cigarette smoke.
American Lung Association of Idaho. What are You Smoking? http://radar.boisestate.edu/pdfs/WhatAreYouSmoking.pdf. Accessed September 2012.