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Vinyl Chloride Lawsuit

Vinyl Chloride Lawsuit

Vinyl Chloride is a toxic cancer-causing chemical that is used to make PVC. Lawsuits and class actions have recently ended in multi-million dollar settlements for vinyl chloride exposure.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Vinyl Chloride induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Vinyl Chloride Lawsuit Ends in $15 Million Settlement

In September 2015, about 350 residents of Crestwood, Illinois were awarded a $15 million settlement over vinyl chloride drinking water contamination. The first class actions were filed in 2009, soon after the Chicago Tribune reported that city officials used a well they knew was contaminated with vinyl chloride. Up to 20% of the city’s tap water came from the well between 1985 and 2007, even though the city promised residents they would only use water from Lake Michigan.

What is Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl Chloride is a cancer-causing chemical that is highly-toxic, flammable, colorless, and sweet-smelling. It is primarily used to make Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), the 3rd most-popular plastic material in the world. Most of it is made in the United States.

Is Vinyl Chloride in My Car?

Yes. Vinyl chloride off-gassing from your car’s interior or vinyl seats creates a mildly-sweet scent in that “new car smell.” The automotive industry has started reducing the use of PVC.

What is Vinyl Chloride Used For?

Vinyl Chloride is used to make PVC, pipes, electrical wires, plastic boxes, packing materials, cling-wrap for food, upholstery for vehicles and furniture, carpet backing, flooring, tiles, bottles, vinyl records, credit cards, medical devices, cigarettes, and much more. Up until the mid-1970s, vinyl chloride was used in refrigerators and aerosol spray-cans. It was also evaluated as a possible anesthetic.

What Else is Vinyl Chloride Called?

Other names for Vinyl Chloride include Chloroethene, Chloroethylene, Ethylene monochloride, Monochloroethene, Monochloroethylene, or Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).

How Are People Exposed to Vinyl Chloride?

  • Breathing it in the air: Vinyl chloride is a gas at normal temperatures and most people are exposed by breathing it in the air — usually fumes of factories, “off-gassing” of products, vapors of liquid vinyl chloride, landfills, or fires.
  • Getting it on their skin or eyes: Liquid vinyl chloride is used to make PVC. It is absorbed by the skin and short-term exposure to vinyl chloride causes redness or blisters. Long-term exposure can cause Reynaud’s phenomenon or disability, especially in workers who touch new PVC products without gloves.
  • Drinking water contaminated by toxic chemicals: Vinyl chloride is not absorbed by the soil and it quickly sinks down until it hits an underground source of tap water or a private well. Toxic waste dumps can directly contaminate water. Vinyl Chloride is also created when “chlorinated” solvents (i.e, dry cleaning chemicals) break down in the environment.

Who Is Most At Risk?

The highest risk of exposure to Vinyl Chloride is PVC workers and other people who handle a lot of plastic or breathe PVC dust. The second-highest risk is anyone who lives or works around PVC factories, landfills, waste dumps, or laundry and dry-cleaning sites. The most high-risk industries include:

  • PVC workers
  • Automobile
  • Construction
  • Furniture
  • Irrigation
  • Laundry & dry cleaning
  • Plastics workers
  • Refrigerant (Heating & Cooling)
  • Rubber workers
  • Landfills
  • Hazardous waste (Superfund sites)
  • Oil refineries

What About Barbers & Hairdressers?

Barbers and hairdressers have developed angiosarcoma (liver cancer) after using hairsprays with vinyl chloride aerosol propellant from 1966-1973, according to case reports in 2009.

Does Vinyl Chloride Cause Cancer?

Yes. Vinyl chloride is known to cause cancer in humans, especially a rare type of liver cancer called angiosarcoma. PVC workers are 45-times more likely to develop angiosarcoma. They are also 5-times more likely to develop liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). On average, there is a 22-year delay between exposure and cancer.

Types of Cancer Linked to Vinyl Chloride

  • Angiosarcoma of the liver
  • Brain cancer
  • Blood cancer
  • Bone marrow cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cholangiosarcoma
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver sarcoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Thyroid cancer

Liver Side Effects of Vinyl Chloride

Liver damage is the most serious health risk of vinyl chloride. The liver converts a small amount of vinyl chloride into an even more-powerful toxin that stays in the body and causes health problems like angiosarcoma, an aggressive type of liver cancer that starts inside blood vessels. Vinyl chloride is also known to cause fibrosis (scarring of the liver), which is a risk-factor for Hepatocellular carcinoma.

Vinyl Chloride Disease

“Vinyl Chloride Disease” is what studies in the 1970s named a common set of symptoms they observed in PVC workers — Raynaud’s phenomenon, muscle or joint pain, and a severe connective-tissue disease known as sclerodactyly or scleroderma that causes the fingers to harden into a curled shape.

Symptoms of Vinyl Chloride Exposure

  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucination
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Burning or tingling of the fingers or toes
  • Slow breathing
  • Organ damage (liver, lungs, kidneys, heart)
  • Spleen enlargement
  • Liver enlargement
  • Fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver
  • Death

Do I have a Vinyl Chloride Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Vinyl Chloride induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.

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