EPA weighs formal review of the toxic chemical vinyl chloride that burned in Ohio train derailment

Written by on August 18, 2023

EPA weighs formal review of the toxic chemical vinyl chloride that burned in Ohio train derailment

Shared By Peter Boykin – American Political Commentator / Citizen Journalist

EPA weighs formal review of the toxic chemical vinyl chloride that burned in Ohio train derailment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a formal evaluation of potential risks associated with vinyl chloride, a chemical that has been linked to cancer and was involved in a recent train derailment incident in East Palestine, Ohio.

Vinyl chloride, a chemical used in plastic production, is one of several chemicals being considered for review as part of the EPA’s upcoming risk assessment of various substances. The EPA stated that it is assessing the possibility of initiating a risk evaluation for vinyl chloride in the near future, as part of its broader examination of chemicals used in plastic manufacturing.

Should the EPA proceed with this evaluation, it would entail a comprehensive examination of vinyl chloride’s impact on human health and the environment. This evaluation process is anticipated to span at least three years.

The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which involved a blaze emitting toxic smoke due to the combustion of vinyl chloride, has prompted discussions around the necessity of such assessments. Advocates of environmental protection and public health have welcomed this initiative, expressing that it should have been carried out earlier to ensure community safety and prevent potential health risks associated with chemicals like vinyl chloride.

Vinyl chloride, commonly used in the production of PVC plastic, is present in various everyday items such as pipes, siding, packaging, and consumer goods. It has been linked to liver cancer and other health issues when inhaled, leading to its prohibition in certain personal products.

However, the Vinyl Institute, a trade organization representing manufacturers, has voiced concerns about the efforts to ban vinyl chloride. The Institute contends that vinyl chloride is responsibly produced in the United States and is used in vital products such as medical supplies and construction materials.

The debate over vinyl chloride’s safety and potential risks has persisted for years but has gained renewed attention following the recent train derailment incident. This incident underscored the need for careful consideration of the risks posed by such chemicals and the potential impact on communities.

While there were concerns about the release of dioxins, a known carcinogen, during the controlled burn following the train derailment, preliminary EPA testing suggests a low likelihood of dioxin release.

Overall, the ongoing discussion highlights the importance of balanced and evidence-based assessments when evaluating the potential risks associated with chemicals like vinyl chloride, ensuring the well-being of both communities and the environment.

[Source: AP News]



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