Vinyl Chloride Exposure Causes Angiosarcoma, Other Deadly Occupational Cancers
Vinyl chloride is a widely used chemical, most well-known as a material in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products. It has been used for many years in a variety of other commercial and industrial products, though recent studies have concluded that it is highly toxic, and linked to several serious illnesses, including cancer.
Several studies over recent years have confirmed a positive association between vinyl chloride (VC) and serious diseases. Workers in the chemical, plastics, automotive and homebuilding fields are among those with the highest cancer risk. By most health agencies, including the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), vinyl chloride is universally considered to be a highly potent chemical carcinogen.
The majority of cancer cases have been associated with occupational exposure, in which workers were regularly and highly exposed to vinyl chloride through inhalation and oral exposure. High levels of vinyl chloride may cause serious central nervous system effects, and long-term exposure has resulted in liver damage and a rare cancer called angiosarcoma.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer who has represented individuals nationwide in toxic tort claims. If you have been injured due to exposure to vinyl chloride on the job, and have questions about your legal rights, please contact The Lyon Firm.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen. Cancer is a real and serious concern for workers exposed to vinyl chloride orally and through inhalation. Vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer called angiosarcoma. Angiosarcoma attacks the lining of blood vessels, and can occur in any area of the body. Studies in workers who inhale vinyl chloride over many years show an increased risk of liver, brain, and lung cancer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has their own independent concerns, and has classified vinyl chloride as a “Group A human carcinogen.” Exposure to the toxic material is likely to cause reactions that target the liver, brain, and lungs.
Some individuals exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride at the workplace develop a unique set of symptoms medical experts call “vinyl chloride disease,” where changes in the bones at the end of the fingers cause numbness, joint and muscle pain, and skin changes. Other early signs and symptoms of vinyl chloride exposure may include:
• Eye irritation
• Kidney irritation
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• Memory loss
• Peripheral neuropathy
Symptoms of a related cancer will depend on where the cancer originated and if it has spread to other parts of the body. In its early stages, soft tissue sarcomas may not cause any signs and symptoms. However, as the tumor grows, it may cause noticeable lumps or swelling. Tumors may spread in an irregular pattern near the surface of the skin, or as masses in internal organs. Primary origins of angiosarcoma include the heart, breast, neck, head, liver, spleen, bone, or brain.
One known factor that may increase your risk of developing cancerous sarcomas in the liver includes heavy chemical exposure at certain worksites such as automotive plants and homebuilding sites. Arsenic and vinyl chloride are linked to angiosarcoma cancer, as are certain pesticides and dioxins.
Most of the vinyl chloride produced in the United States is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a material used to manufacture plastic and vinyl products including residential piping, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials. These products may be intended for commercial or residential use. Vinyl chloride is also used in furniture, automobile upholstery, wall coverings, housewares, and automotive parts.
Workers at homebuilding sites or facilities where vinyl chloride is produced or used may be exposed primarily through inhalation. The highest levels of vinyl chloride are found in air around factories that produce vinyl products. The majority of those who fall ill after heavy exposure work in an environment where vinyl chloride is discharged as a gas, mostly from factories that manufacture or process vinyl chloride, automotive production sites, or chemical waste storage. Occupational exposure to VC may also occur during transport, disposal, or handling a finished product, such as on a homebuilding site.
Vinyl chloride exposure is associated with an increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer called angiosarcoma, as well as a number of other serious conditions including the following:
• Brain cancer
• Lung cancer
• Oral cancer
• Liver cancer
• Kidney damage
• Blood clotting
• Male infertility
• Birth Defects
Thousands of people in America still work in production sites using vinyl chloride, and thousands of others work with the secondary toxic products in fabrication, flooring, siding, medical equipment, electrical wiring, cables and other products. In addition, former workers in the homebuilding, automotive and chemical plastics industry are likely to have been exposed to toxins and may have a claim against former manufacturers and employers.
Toxic tort cases can be filed against manufacturers of vinyl chloride, or any other employer that subjects employees to unsafe conditions, and results in an injury or illness. Many corporations around the country know how dangerous this toxic substance is, but choose not to warn or properly protect employees. These companies have been held responsible by attorneys nationwide to compensate victims.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to Vinyl Chloride Exposure and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.