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Re: Vinyl Chloride odor
Bill (and others),
I was citing a manual written by a UCal Berkeley
science team who apparently did extensive testing.
While they did not post their raw data, they did post
the following at the end of the article:
Chemical Formula: C2H3Cl
Molecular weight: 62.5
air, near vinyl chloride manufacturing
plants (average) 8-8000 ug/M3
food, maximum concentrations
alcohol beverages 2.1 mg/kg
vinegar: 9.4 mg/kg
edible oils 0.05-14.8 mg/kg
butter: 0.05 mg/kg
water, average highest concentrations: 10 ug/L
OSHA limit in workplace air 1 ppm
Look, Bill, maybe I'm wrong about the smell of
VCM and the smell of new vinyl. Maybe you are
right. Maybe Chinese PVC has only 2 ppm
VCM, and they are as careful in China to strip VCM
from PVC as you say domestic manufacturers are.
Maybe Professor John Harte and the others who
took part in the writing of Toxics A to Z are all wrong
about their vinyl chloride measurements.
If you can provide precise data that details exactly
all the gasses present in new, Chinese PVC, by
percentages, and explain why the "new vinyl smell"
causes precisely the temporary physical symptoms
that are described by Professor Harte as symptoms
of vinyl chloride exposure, maybe I'll take you a little
more seriously. And I would apologize profusely
and admit my mistake of relying on this particular
piece of published literature.
As for your 20 years experience working in this industry,
that just tells me that you are so enmeshed in chemical
culture that you cannot see that the companies you
represent have done, are doing, and will continue
to harm people, whether or not you believe this and
whether or not your scientific knowledge is superior
Nowhere anywhere have I made any claims of
"superiority" to you. As a matter of fact, I am,
because I must rely on sources that I cannot
directly verify in 100% of the cases, likely to
be over-cautious. I may make the terrible mistake
of saying that we should protect ourselves
against chemical incursions even if we don't
know for certain that a certain chemical is deadly,
but only suspect it to be harmful.
You, on the other hand, work for an industry that
has caused probable harm to hundreds of millions
of people (and, perhaps, every person and animal
living on earth) by producing chlorinated aromatics
that have become a semi-permanent part of the
I do not know how you sleep at night. I do not know
how you can rationalize the creation of these chemicals,
some of which have caused verifiable deaths and
are wreaking havoc with ecosystems all over the
From: DrBillC@aol.com <DrBillC@aol.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Date: Saturday, November 15, 1997 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: Vinyl chloride odor
>Jon, and the list:
>You will notice that there is not a single number in your posting. Your
>citation is anecdotal, the language is speculative and there is no
>data. Nowhere in the citation does it say that you can smell vinyl chloride
>as a result of contact with normal articles. I grant you that it implies
>that VCM is congruent with "new car smell." To answer your question: Yes.
> They are as uninformed as you are.
>First, the odor of VCM is quite different than the odor of "shower
>Second, Do the calculation. PVC resin contains about 2 ppm VCM, plus or
>minus. Put a 6 mil thick, 6 x 6 shower curtain that's about 53% resin in
>8 x 8 x 8 bathroom and make the following assumptions:
>1) All the VCM from the resin remains in the shower curtain, and none is
>removed in the heat of processing (unlikely, and conservative).
>2) All the VCM degasses in that bathroom (highly unlikely at room
>temperature, given number 1).
>3) No air changes.
>The answer is about 18 ppm on a weight basis and about half that on a
>basis. This is well below the odor threshold of thousands of ppm by the
>conservative estimates. Please see Alex Sagady's posting to the list.
>If what you said is true, all those who work in PVC fabricating areas
>by law, be monitored for VCM. They are not. Why? Because it's been done,
>and none was found. If those workers aren't exposed, the people who buy
>articles they fabricate aren't.
>Jon, you may think me corrupt, immoral, or any other value-laden terms that
>make you feel superior to me. I am not, however, stupid. Challenging me
>a physical, verifiable fact that is so fundamental to my nearly twenty
>experience in an industry with which you have no familiarity is tactically
>unwise. You're wrong, Jon. Physically, verifiably wrong. Others on the
>list have tried to tell you this. I tried to tell you privately in a
>civilized manner. You responded inappropriately.
>Chlorine Chemistry Council