EPA proposes new standards for PVC plants
April 25th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

EPA proposes new standards for PVC plants

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stronger air emissions standards for polyvinyl chloride production facilities in an effort to improve the air quality and health in communities nearby.

The standards would require these plants to reduce emissions of such potentially carcinogenic chemicals as vinyl chloride and dioxin.

“In particular, children are known to be more sensitive to the cancer risks posed by inhaling vinyl chloride,” the EPA said in a news release announcing the proposed standards.

There are 17 PVC production facilities in the United States, most of them in Louisiana (six) and Texas (four). Other states with such facilities are New Jersey with two and Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Mississippi with one each.

In 2008, a community group in Mossville, Louisiana - called the vinyl capital of the United States - filed a complaint asking a federal district court to order the EPA to enact tougher emissions standards at PVC facilities, saying the federal agency was violating the Clean Air Act. Joining the Mossville Environmental Action Now in the complaint were the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and the Sierra Club.

 Mossville, Louisiana: 'Like an experiment'

The EPA settled the case a year later, agreeing to establish PVC standards.

PVC resins are used to make products including clear plastics, pipes, siding, latex paints and flooring. PVC containers are labeled with the recycling code #3.

Airborne vinyl chloride, a man-made chemical with a mild, sweet odor at high concentrations, can be inhaled or enter the body through the skin. The EPA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services consider vinyl chloride a human carcinogen.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates: Toxic America

Exposure to vinyl chloride increases the risk for liver cancer and possibly brain cancer, lung cancer and some cancers of the blood, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Dioxins are a class of chemicals deemed “likely human carcinogens” by the EPA. Dioxins have caused cancer in animal studies in concentrations of less than 1 part per billion, leading some to call them the most toxic substances known. A particularly toxic dioxin was present in the Vietnam-era defoliant known as Agent Orange.

EPA will accept comments on the proposed standards until mid-June.

soundoff (672 Responses)
  1. Chelsea

    AND most rubber duckies (yes, children's bath toys) contain PVC, which, according to this article, is considered a carcinogen by the EPA. Why is this legal?

    April 25, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniel

      Oh Jees don't think abou the miles of PVC plumbing to get water to a house...

      April 25, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
    • Javi


      That's legal because no one is forcing you to buy those PVC infested toys! If you want to give you children that then so be it. However, air we breathe is obviously different. I don't want to breathe that nasty air if there is a way for them to NOT spew it out (which there is of course). In which case clean it up!! Duh..

      April 25, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Because its rather safe to handle unless its burning or melting.

      April 26, 2011 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
  2. jim

    Boycott CNN for playing loud ads and destroying your hearing.

    April 25, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      Boycott for failing to include a VOLUME control on your computer.

      April 25, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  3. FirstResponder

    That was supposed to say: Boycott (fill in your PC manufacturer's name here) for failing to include a VOLUME control on your computer.

    April 25, 2011 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FirstResponder

    When are they going to ban those toxic PVC shower curtains??

    April 25, 2011 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • poly man

      they could just use human shields. Shower with a friend just like Hitler saved water

      April 26, 2011 at 07:18 | Report abuse |
  5. Javi

    CLEAN IT UP!! There is a way for these companies to work just fine without having to spew out all that nasty crap! It's only a shame that it took a lawsuit from the citizen's affected to finally get the EPA to step in. So the CEO's make a little less! CLEAN IT UP!!

    April 25, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Christine

    dont buy products that have chemicals you dont like, if enough people did they would have to find a greener way to make sales.

    April 25, 2011 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tiffany

    Whatever happened to CNN blog JUST IN???

    April 26, 2011 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Charlie

    Ah, the EPA. Destroying America one business at a time.

    April 26, 2011 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SteveV

      Russia doesn't have an "EPA" organization. Their industries are allowed to do anything they want. That is why Russia is such a NICE PLACE to visit! You should go live there! You would LOVE IT! ...

      April 26, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
  9. poly man

    PVC is a wonderful product helping make it possible for 6.5 billion people to inhabit the earth. If the product was real harmful the would have been regulating it 50 years ago. It is actually a very stable cheap product covering homes across America. It is made with 45% salt along with some petroleum dies and solar inhibitors. If you are truly worried about polluting recycle your car and the ever polluting solid rocket boosters on the space shuttle.But discontinuing weapons of war would be the most effective way to limit polution.

    April 26, 2011 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. poly man

    Dioxin is good for you,it is in the basa fish we import from Viet Nam

    April 26, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. NODAT1

    We should also ban all PVC imports thatt come from plants that don't meet the the new EPA standards.

    April 26, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
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