Vinyl Chloride

What is Vinyl Chloride Monomer & What Steps Should Be Taken To Treat Sites Contaminated By VCM

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Vinyl Chloride (VCM)

What Is Vinyl Chloride (VCM)

Vinyl Chloride - also known as vinyl chloride monomerVCM, or chloroethene - is an industrial compound created mainly for producing polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a hard plastic material used in various products, from cable coatings, packaging materials, sewer piping, siding, automobile components, etc.

VCM is a flammable and colorless gas that evaporates rapidly. VCM ranks in the top 20 for one of the largest petrochemicals or petroleum-derived chemicals in the world's production. While vinyl chloride monomer can be created organically when soil organisms break down various chlorinated solvents, it is primarily a manufactured, carcinogenic compound. VCM is a sweet-smelling gas found in a variety of places.

Vinyl chloride is a contaminant that can be found near landfills and in the air or drinking water near facilities that produce it. It is also a potential byproduct when chlorinated compounds are broken down organically.

Exposure to VCM causes liver damage

Health Effects Of Vinyl Chloride Exposure

Occupational hazards make up the majority of those harmed by VCM. The primary exposure is through inhalation, as VCM is a gas in most ambient conditions. Most other contaminants are primarily consumed via contaminated food or water, but the vast majority of those exposed to VCM are while the contaminant is in its gas form.

When exposed, the contaminant can cause "vinyl chloride illness," called acro osteolysis, and it can even cause Raynaud's Phenomenon, dizziness, nausea, ataxia, cardiac arrhythmias, and even RADS (Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome).

VCM is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). When exposed to high enough concentrations, vinyl chloride can cause tumors in various body parts, including the brain, lungs, and lymphatic system. Exposure can even cause mothers to miscarry and can even cause various birth defects. 

VCM & Liver Damage

It has been known since the early 1900s that exposure to vinyl chloride can damage the liver. Various publications carried out studies documenting the link between exposure in animals and workers and liver damage.

Studies have shown that even short-term high dosages of VCM in animals would cause significant liver damage, and studies have also proven the same for humans. To date, little to no studies have been done on the long-term effects of exposure to VCM.

Vinyl Chloride Monomer

Why Its Important To Treat Your VCM Contamination Quickly

Due to vinyl chloride causing a rare form of liver cancer, any site contaminated by VCM needs to be remediated quickly not to threaten the health and safety of any humans or animals using, living, or working near the area. Given that vinyl chloride is a DNAPL and falls under the chlorinated organics category - in terms of contaminants - it will sink beneath any present groundwater.

What the status as a DNAPL means for sites contaminated with VCM is that the contaminant will form pools beneath the groundwater. The contaminant is denser than water, and will sink beneath - not only the water table, but it can sink even lower. As it sinks, it will run horizontally and fall vertically, eventually creating a complex contamination network. DNAPL contaminants such as vinyl chloride can be challenging to track, characterize and deal with because of its tendency to run and fall with the given subsurface conditions.

If left untreated, these contaminants will continue to be sources of constant contamination, leeching off into groundwater and threatening any life exposed to the now-contaminated water source.

Free product destruction

Why Choose Us To Destroy Your VCM Contamination

When your site investigation is complete and it's confirmed your site is contaminated with vinyl chloride, it's essential to act quickly. Environmental remediation is the only way you can hope to get your site back after a discovery like that, and the best thing you can do is to find a team with a proven track record.

For over two decades, we have proven our ability to successfully destroy all presence of vinyl chloride with our patented remediation reagent. Our patented technology Cool-Ox® uses oxidation and reduction to ensure free product destruction. It has been proven to destroy VCM without leaving behind any harmful or corrosive byproducts or heat, all while having minimal impact on client operations. To top it off, our unique method encourages the increase of microorganisms native to the soil that help promote plant growth. 

We have various remedial techniques that have helped us win awards, work closely with industry leaders like the EPA, and achieve “No Further Action (NFA)” closures on various sites and contaminants. Using our proven Cool-Ox® technology, some of the techniques we can use to treat contaminated sites range from using existing monitoring wellsDPT drilling, excavators to mix soil, and even our hand lance method for incredibly small, shallow remedial sites.

Get Your Site Back Today

If you've got a site contaminated with hydrocarbons or chlorinated solvents, you can either give us a call, request a quote, or contact us with any questions to be connected to an environmental specialist.

You can also head to our site remediation page to learn more about today's different remediation technologies.

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