Vinyl production charges
The negative claim fervently underscored by the previous Greenpeace quotation rises from the creation of VCM (vinyl chloride monomer) during the vinyl production process. While VCM’s status as a carcinogenic gas is indisputable, there is less certainty concerning the harmful levels emitted into the environment.
Until the 1970s, when VCM’s effects (specifically, angiosarcoma, an otherwise rare form of liver cancer) became more widely known, vinyl plant workers were exposed to the gas as it was released into the work environment. However, since 1975, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has enforced strict regulations concerning VCM emissions-limiting the maximum workplace exposure to an average of 1 ppm over an eight-hour shift.
Due to these regulatory changes, vinyl factories have overhauled their production systems to recycle VCM off-gas back into a closed system. As a result, there have been no documented cases of angiosarcoma amongst vinyl product factory workers who began their careers after controls procedures were reformed. Emissions management have proved so effective zero VCM was detected during peer-reviewed air monitoring studies.3