Question: Vinyl chloride spill in eastern ohio

Ag8n is asking a question about general
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by Ag8n | February 07, 2023 01:05 | #38685

Came home to the TV news, tonight There was a train derailment, that included four railcars carrying vinyl chloride. This spill is in Eastern Ohio.

Didn't work with vinyl chloride much. But the polymerized form, polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, was a different matter. It's everwhere. Usually, you hope the level of vinyl chloride in PVC is low, because vinyl chloride ( or vinyl chloride monomer VCM in the industry) is toxic. So seeing large amounts of raw vinyl chloride burned off sent shivers down my spine. What kind of clean up will be necessary at the spill site and in the air around the vinyl chloride spill? Thank you!


According to the spill contains vinyl chloride. Because of the danger with this material, the decision was made to burn it, on cite. According to the article, burning will lead to production of hydrogen chloride ( which when mixed with water makes hydrochloric acid) and phosgene. Phosgene was used as a chemical weapon in WWI.

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Sharing some information on vinyl chloride from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR):

Inhalation is the primary route of exposure, and vinyl chloride is readily absorbed from the lungs. Its odor threshold is too high to provide an adequate warning of hazardous concentrations. The odor of vinyl chloride becomes detectable at around 3,000 ppm and the OSHA PEL is 1 ppm (8-hour TWA). Therefore, workers can be overexposed to vinyl chloride without being aware of its presence.

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Ok. It's gone about the way you would expect. Formal sources say it is safe to live i n East Palestine. But the average Joe is still having trouble selling his house. And to be honest, personally, I wouldn't feel safe living there. New data has popped up showing that the burning of the railcars was not necessary ( by the ntsb). The damage is done.

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