At normal temperatures, vinyl chloride is a colourless, flammable gas with a mild, sweet odour. It is a manufactured substance that is used to make polyvinyl chloride or PVC, which in turn is used to make a variety of plastic products. Vinyl chloride has been used in polymerisation and PVC fabrication plants in various parts of the UK including at ICI and Dow Corning Chemicals.
- Have you worked in the plastic industry?
- Could you have been exposed to vinyl chloride? And if so, have you suffered as a result of this exposure?
- Our expert team of industrial disease lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Linked to fatal liver tumours
It is now known that some people who have worked with, and been exposed to, vinyl chloride have developed angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer of the liver. Other workers have developed problems with blood flow in their hands causing the tips of their fingers to become white and painful particularly when in cold temperatures. In extreme cases, the bones in the tips of fingers have broken down.
Exposure to vinyl chloride had previously been thought safe at 500 parts per million parts of air. However, in its 1974 revised safety data sheet, NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) were unable to describe a safe level of exposure and the concept of a threshold limit for vinyl chloride gas in the atmosphere was rejected. Consequently NIOSH recommended that where an employee was exposed to any measurable concentration of vinyl chloride, that employee must wear an air supplied respirator.
Millions of pounds in compensation have already been recovered from workers compensation cases brought in the UK as well as in the US.
There has been much controversy about the plastic industry’s knowledge of the risks of vinyl chloride.
Hugh James have been advising and representing workers in industrial disease claims such as respiratory disease, noise induced hearing loss and vibration white finger for over 20 years. We are leaders in our field.
We were involved in the original test cases for the chest disease and the vibration white finger claims, resulting in the Government paying out many millions of pounds in compensation to thousands of sick and injured miners.