February 26, 2024

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Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” ?

Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” ?


Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” ?

On February 4 local time, U.S. officials confirmed that a freight train in Ohio derailed on the evening of the 3rd, causing a fire and causing a small amount of dangerous chemical vinyl chloride to leak.


Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A "known human carcinogen" ?


 Earlier on the 4th, an official of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that some cars of the derailed train released some vinyl chloride through the safety release valve. Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas that has been identified as a carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute.


The freight train involved in the accident had more than 100 carriages, about 50 of which derailed on the evening of the 3rd local time in East Palestine, a small town in eastern Ohio near Pennsylvania, causing a fire.

 A total of 20 carriages of the train involved were loaded with toxic substances, half of which derailed, including 5 carriages carrying compressed vinyl chloride, and the released chemicals burned for three days.


The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has formed a task force to investigate the cause of the crash, and federal investigators later revealed that train crews were alerted to an axle mechanical failure shortly before the crash .

 There was a sudden change in temperature in one of the compartments , posing a potential explosion risk .


PVC is a colorless and flammable gas at room temperature. It is industrially used as a chemical substance for the mass production of PVC plastics.

It is identified as a carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute of the United States. The CDC warns that long-term inhalation of vinyl chloride “may be linked to brain, lung and some blood cancers.”

 When vinyl chloride is burned, it can produce phosgene and hydrogen chloride, which are also toxic gases.


PVC is the world’s most frequently used raw material for making plastics, used in pipes, cables, plastic bottles and credit cards. When it enters the drain, it can be a hazard to groundwater, lakes, rivers, wildlife, and pose a health risk to people who are not comfortable absorbing this substance. However, the explosion this time is PVC, which has not been converted into vinyl chloride, and it is more harmful.

Vinyl chloride is listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen,” a chemical that bioaccumulates once it enters rivers and lakes. 

Possible effects in humans of inhalation include dizziness, headache and coma. Long-term, life-long exposure can cause liver disease and cancers of multiple organs.


The risk of this explosion will spread to eastern Canada. To the north of Ohio is Lake Erie.

The pollutants in the core polluted area will eventually flow to Lake Erie, which will affect the drinking water source of nearly 20 million people in Ontario and the United States. Above that is Niagara. The Great Falls, the water flow through the waterfall will eventually flow to Lake Ontario, affecting the entire eastern part of Canada.

In addition, the vinyl chloride artificially ignited on February 6 produced at least 450 tons of dioxin gas . The wind direction of the explosion was blowing in the direction of Canada for a week. The first wave will arrive in London and Windsor, Ontario, and the second wave will affect The Greater Toronto Area , but now the entire gas has flown into the stratosphere and polluted the air throughout North America!


Acid rain has begun to form in the local area, corroding the glass, and the fish in the river are gradually dying. The local residents gradually realize that something is wrong, and drive away from their homes in panic!


Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” ?


Vinyl chloride is listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” because it has been shown to cause cancer in humans through epidemiological studies and laboratory experiments.

When inhaled or ingested, vinyl chloride can damage DNA and cause mutations that lead to the development of cancer, particularly liver cancer and angiosarcoma.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is sufficient evidence to classify vinyl chloride as a human carcinogen.


Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A "known human carcinogen" ?


US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established regulations related to vinyl chloride.

Specifically, the FDA has set limits on the amount of vinyl chloride that can be present in food contact materials, such as plastics and packaging, as vinyl chloride can migrate from these materials into food and potentially cause harm.

The FDA has also set limits on the amount of residual vinyl chloride in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) medical devices, such as tubing and containers, due to concerns about the potential for exposure to patients and healthcare workers.

Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the US Department of Labor, has established regulations to protect workers who are exposed to vinyl chloride in occupational settings, such as in the production of PVC.

These regulations set exposure limits and require employers to provide protective equipment and training to workers.


How to do if someone has been exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride?


If someone has been exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride, they should seek immediate medical attention.

The appropriate treatment will depend on the severity and duration of the exposure, as well as the symptoms that are present. In general, treatment for vinyl chloride exposure may include:

  1. Removing the person from the source of exposure: If the exposure is ongoing, the first step is to remove the person from the source of vinyl chloride to prevent further exposure.

  2. Providing oxygen therapy: If the person is having difficulty breathing, supplemental oxygen may be provided to help them breathe more easily.

  3. Administering medication: If the person is experiencing symptoms such as chest pain or heart palpitations, medication may be given to help alleviate these symptoms.

  4. Supportive care: In some cases, supportive care such as IV fluids or monitoring of vital signs may be necessary to help stabilize the person.

It’s important to note that prevention is the best strategy for minimizing the risk of vinyl chloride exposure.

This can be achieved through the use of appropriate safety equipment, such as protective clothing and respirators, and by following established safety procedures in workplaces where vinyl chloride is used or produced.




Why is Vinyl chloride listed as a Class A “known human carcinogen” ?

(source:internet, reference only)

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