(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Train Carrying Deadly PVC Crashes In NJ Sickens Workers / Residents

A train carrying deadly Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) crashed in NJ this morning when a bridge it was traveling on collapsed. The train containing highly toxic cargo crashed while crossing a creek near the Delaware River. 

It has been reported that at least 71 people are being treated for respiratory distress and residents have been ordered to remain indoors. The train remains dangling from the collapsed bridge and and chemicals continue to leak into the creek.

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.

Acute Effects: Acute exposure of humans to high levels of vinyl chloride via inhalation in humans has resulted in effects on the CNS, such as dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and giddiness. Vinyl chloride is reported to be slightly irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract in humans. Acute exposure to extremely high levels of vinyl chloride has caused loss of consciousness, lung and kidney irritation, and inhibition of blood clotting in humans and cardiac arrhythmias in animals. Tests involving acute exposure of mice have shown vinyl chloride to have high acute toxicity from inhalation exposure.

Chronic Effects(Noncancer): Liver damage may result in humans from chronic exposure to vinyl chloride, through both inhalation and oral exposure. A small percentage of individuals occupationally exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride in air have developed a set of symptoms termed “vinyl chloride disease,” which is characterized by Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers blanch and numbness and discomfort are experienced upon exposure to the cold), changes in the bones at the end of the fingers, joint and muscle pain, and scleroderma-like skin changes (thickening of the skin, decreased elasticity, and slight edema). CNS effects (including dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, visual and/or hearing disturbances, memory loss, and sleep disturbances) as well as peripheral nervous system symptoms (peripheral neuropathy, tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in fingers) have also been reported in workers exposed to vinyl chloride. Animal studies have reported effects on the liver, kidney, and CNS from chronic exposure to vinyl chloride. EPA has established a Reference Concentration (RfC) of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter, and a Reference Dose (RfD) of 0.003 milligrams per kilogram per day for vinyl chloride. Please see IRIS for current information.

Reproductive/Developmental Effects: Several case reports suggest that male sexual performance may be affected by vinyl chloride. However, these studies are limited by lack of quantitative exposure information and possible co-occurring exposure to other chemicals. Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between vinyl chloride exposure in pregnant women and an increased incidence of birth defects, while other studies have not reported similar findings. Epidemiological studies have suggested an association between men occupationally exposed to vinyl chloride and miscarriages in their wives’ pregnancies although other studies have not supported these findings. Testicular damage and decreased male fertility have been reported in rats exposed to low levels for up to 12 months. Animal studies have reported decreased fetal weight and birth defects at levels that are also toxic to maternal animals in the offspring of rats exposed to vinyl chloride through inhalation.

Cancer Risk: Inhaled vinyl chloride has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer (angiosarcoma of the liver) in humans. Animal studies have shown that vinyl chloride, via inhalation, increases the incidence of angiosarcoma of the liver and cancer of the liver. Several rat studies show a pronounced early-life susceptibility to the carcinogenic effect of vinyl chloride, i.e., early exposures are associated with higher liver cancer incidence than similar or much longer exposures that occur after maturity. EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen. EPA uses mathematical models, based on animal studies, to estimate the probability of a person developing cancer from breathing air containing a specified concentration of a chemical.

EPA has calculated an inhalation unit risk estimate of 8.8 × 10-6 (µg/m3)-1 for lifetime exposure to vinyl chloride.

Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ, helping vinyl chloride victims and their families for over 4 decades, is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson).  

Read more about "vinyl chloride"

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The 5 substances that TSCA mandates regulations for are all known carcinogens: Asbestos, Hexavalent Chromium, Vinyl Chloride, Trichloethylene, Methyene Chloride and Dicloromethene. Since 1976 chronic and terminal ...
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This case involved exposure to poly vinyl chloride at a Pantasote, a Paterson NJ plant, causing disease to former workers which is characteristic of Raynaud's phenomenon ( fingers blanch and numbnessand discomfort are ...
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Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing), including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. Secondhand smoke has ...