What is Vinyl Chloride Monomer?
Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) is a toxic chemical used to manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products including PVC pipe, plastic kitchenware, wire and cable coating, and packaging materials. The chemical is also in furniture and vehicle upholstery, and in the past has been used as an aerosol propellant.
What’s the Problem?
Vinyl chloride can cause cancer, including a rare form of liver cancer called angiosarcoma of the liver. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, workers exposed to the carcinogen over extended periods of time have an increased risk for liver, brain, lung and other types of cancer.
Vinyl Chloride Health Effects
- Liver cancer (angiosarcoma of the liver)
- Liver disease
- Brain cancer
- Blood and bone marrow cancers
- Vinyl chloride disease
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Inhibition of blood clotting
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin changes (thickening of the skin, decreased elasticity, edema)
- Central nervous system (CNS) effects
- Nerve damage
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Kidney disease
- Immune system reactions
- Reproductive / developmental effects
- Birth defects
- Loss of sex drive in men
- High blood pressure
- And more
Vinyl Chloride Studies
The following studies have linked inhaled vinyl chloride to angiosarcoma of the liver:
- A study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences in 2014 found that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in PVC plastic products rapidly evaporate. This results in hazardous gases entering the ecosystem and an increased risk for cancer in humans and other animals.
- Study conducted by the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Center in 1987 identified several cases of hepatic angiosarcoma (HAS) at a PVC production facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Researchers found the relative risk for HAS at the plant appeared to be approximately 5,000, strongly indicating a causal link between vinyl chloride and angiosarcoma.
In July 2005, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives described how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had downplayed the cancer risk with vinyl chloride after collaborating with the chemical industry. The researchers suggested this behavior reflects discredited scientific practices and recommended that EPA reverse its trend of being influenced by regulated industries when generating scientific reviews and risk assessments.
- Case Study for Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) found that chronic, low-level vinyl chloride exposure may cause angiosarcoma of the liver. At high doses, hepatic cells may die rather than transform, resulting in chronic liver disease, according to the researchers.
Symptoms of Vinyl Chloride Exposure
Exposure to vinyl chloride occurs mainly in the workplace. Breathing high levels of vinyl chloride for short periods of time can cause:
- Death (extremely high levels)
Breathing vinyl chloride for long periods of time can result in:
- Permanent liver damage
- Immune reactions
- Nerve damage
- Liver cancer
Vinyl chloride has been found in at least 616 of the 1,662 National Priority List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
How Long Do I File a Claim?
The statute of limitations (SOL) is the timing deadline to file a civil case in the court of law. In most states, SOL deadlines for causes of action related to chemical exposure are 2 years from the date of the incident or notice of an injury. Cases involving exposure to toxic chemicals can present significant issues regarding the statute of limitations, given the extended period of time a victim may have been exposed. Contact our lawyers to learn more about your legal rights.
Need More Info?
If you’d like to learn more about vinyl chloride monomer litigation and health effects, please visit our vinyl chloride FAQ page.
Do I Have a Vinyl Chloride Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in vinyl chloride lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new toxic exposure cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you were exposed to vinyl chloride monomer are were diagnosed with cancer or suffered other health effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit and we can help.