Monday, October 12, 2015

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Can it Dissolve Bones With High Levels of Exposure?

Polyvinyl Chloride 

Photo Credit: pvcpipe.com
PVC is the third most widely used plastic polymer(2) and has been linked to asthma and lung problems. PVCs that have been soften by phalates can have adverse health effects (3). BPA is also used to soften PVCs for plastics
PVCs contain high levels of chlorine(3) a suspected endocrine disruptor. Dioxins can be released via the chlorine content during the manufacturing process.(3)

PVC can be found in just about any plastic. 
  • intravenous (IV) bags 
  • blood bags, 
  • respiratory tubing, 
  • feeding tubes, catheters, 
  • parts of dialysis devices, 
  • heart bypass tubing
  • inflatable recreational toys,
  • other toys.
  • bank/credit cards
  • raincoats
  • shoe soles
  • shower curtains
  • garden hoses
  • food packaging and shrink-wrapped foods
  • More

How much did companies know about the harms and risks of the chemical they were exposing their workers and the public to?? This PBS program, Trade Secrets, by Bill Moyers, covers workers' experiences and exposes hidden company documents. What stood out to me was this narrative...

NARRATION: Fresh out of the Army, Bernard Skaggs went to work at the BF Goodrich plant in Louisville, Kentucky.
There, vinyl chloride gas was turned into a dough-like mixture that was then dried and processed into the raw material for PVC plastic. Bernie Skaggs' job was to climb into the giant vats that spun and mixed the vinyl chloride - and chip off what was left behind. Workers called it "kettle crud."
SKAGGS: There was vinyl chloride everywhere. The valve, overhead valves had charging valves over there where the vinyl chloride was pumped into the reactors. All of those leaked and dripped. Most of them dripped on the floor all the time. They said it had to be - I think it was - 1,500 parts per million before you could smell it. Not only could you smell it, you could see it. It would - it would get into a vapor, and through the sunlight it waved, waves, and you see it. It was all the time that way.
My hands began to get sore, and they began to swell some. My fingers got so sore on the ends, I couldn't button a shirt, couldn't dial a phone. And I had thick skin like it was burned all over the back of my hand, back of my fingers, all the way up under my arm, almost to my armpit. And after enough time, I got thick places on my face right under my eyes...
MOYERS: Did you think it might be related to your job?
SKAGGS: At the start, no.
NARRATION: BF Goodrich would discover the truth.
From: The BF Goodrich Company To: Union Carbide, Imperial Chemical Industries, and The Monsanto Company.
"Gentlemen: There is no question but that skin lesions, absorption of bone of the terminal joints of the hands, and circulatory changes can occur in workers associated with the polymerization of PVC."
NARRATION: In other words, they knew vinyl chloride could cause the bones in the hands of their workers to dissolve.(1)

Watch the video.


Trade Secrets from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.


Source:
1 - PBS Trade Secrets Transcript
2 - Wikipedia - Polyvinyl Choride
3 - US National Library of Medicine - Polyvinyl Chloride

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