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Chemical Fact Sheet

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 75014
CASRN 75-01-4
SynonymsVinyl chloride
Ethene, chloro-
Analytical Methods EPA Method 502.2
EPA Method 524.2
EPA Method 601
EPA Method 624
EPA Method 8010
EPA Method 8021
EPA Method 8260
Molecular FormulaC2H3Cl

Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details on this compound.

Use IN PLASTIC INDUSTRY; AS REFRIGERANT; IN ORGANIC SYNTHESES. MONOMER FOR POLY(VINYL CHLORIDE) HOMOPOLYMER. COMONOMER-EG, WITH VINYL ACETATE OR VINYLIDENE CHLORIDE. CHEM INTERMED FOR METHYL CHLOROFORM & 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE. CHEM INTERMED FOR OTHER ORG CHEMS-EG, CHLOROACETALDEHYDE. MONOMER & COMONOMER FOR FIBERS-EG, VINYON & SARAN FIBERS. OXIDN INHIBITOR IN ETHYLENE OXIDE PRODN. REFRIGERANT & EXTRACTION SOLVENT (FORMER USE). Vinyl chloride is used in the manufacture of numerous products in building and construction, automotive industry, electrical wire insulation and cables, piping, industrial and household equipment, medical supplies, and is depended upon heavily by the rubber, paper, and glass industries. Adhesives for plastics Vinyl chloride was formerly a component of aerosol propellants. Vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate copolymers are used extensively to produce vinyl asbestos floor tiles. Limited quantities of chloroethene were used in the United States as an aerosol propellant and as an ingredient of drug and cosmetic products. (Former use)
Consumption Patterns MONOMER FOR POLY(VINYL CHLORIDE) RESINS, 85%; EXPORTS, 13.5%; MISCELLANEOUS (MOSTLY COPOLYMER USE), 1.5% (1982) 95% FOR POLYVINYL CHLORIDE HOMOPOLYMER AND COPOLYMER RESIN; 4% FOR SYNTHESIS OF METHYL CHLOROFORM; 1% FOR MISC APPLICATIONS (1972) 91% FOR POLYVINYL CHLORIDE CHEMICAL PROFILE: Vinyl Chloride. Polyvinyl chloride, 91%; exports, 7%; other, including chlorinated solvents, 2%. CHEMICAL PROFILE: Vinyl chloride. Demand: 1988: 9.1 billion lb; 1989: 9.2 billion lb; 1993 /projected/: 11.0 billion lb. (Includes exports, but not imports, which totaled 227 million lb last year.)
Apparent Color COLORLESS GAS OR LIQUID
Odor Ethereal odor ; Sweet odor
Boiling Point -13.37 deg C
Melting Point -153.8 deg C
Molecular Weight 62.50
Density 0.9106 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEG C
Odor Threshold Concentration Although vinyl chloride has an odor at high concn, it is of no value in preventing excessive exposure. The actual vapor concn that can be detected has never been adequately determined and varies from one individual to another, from impurities in the sample and probably from duration of exposure.
Sensitivity Data Primary irritant for skin .
Environmental Impact Although vinyl chloride is produced in large quantities, almost all of it is used captively for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other polymers. Therefore, its major release to the environment will be as emissions and wastewater at these production and manufacturing facilities. If vinyl chloride is released to soil, it will be subject to rapid volatilization with reported half-lives of 0.2 and 0.5 days for evaporation from soil at 1 and 10 cm incorporation, respectively. Any vinyl chloride which does not evaporate will be expected to be highly to very highly mobile in soil and it may leach to the groundwater. It may be subject to biodegradation under anaerobic conditions such as exists in flooded soil and groundwater. If vinyl chloride is released to water, it will not be expected to hydrolyze, to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms or to adsorb to sediments. It will be subject to rapid volatilization with an estimated half-life of 0.805 hr for evaporation from a river 1 m deep with a current of 3 m/sec and a wind velocity of 3 m/sec. In waters containing photosensitizers such as humic acid, photodegradation will occur fairly rapidly. Limited existing data indicate that vinyl chloride is resistant to biodegradation in aerobic systems and therefore, it may not be subject to biodegradation in aerobic soils and natural waters. It will not be expected to hydrolyze in soils or natural waters under normal environmental conditions. If vinyl chloride is released to the atmosphere, it can be expected to exist mainly in the vapor-phase in the ambient atmosphere and to degrade rapidly in air by gas-phase reaction with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals with an estimated half-life of 1.5 days. Products of reaction in the atmosphere include chloroacetaldehyde, hydrogen chloride, chloroethylene epoxide, formaldehyde, formyl chloride, formic acid, and carbon monoxide. In the presence of nitrogen oxides, eg photochemical smog situations, the half-life would be reduced to approximately a few hours. Since vinyl chloride is primarily used in limited number of locations, it is unlikely that contamination will be widespread. Major human exposure will be from inhalation of occupational atmospheres and from ingestion of contaminated food and drinking water which has come into contact with polyvinyl chloride packaging material or pipe which has not been treated adequately to remove residual monomer.
Environmental Fate TERRESTRIAL FATE: If vinyl chloride is released to soil, it will be subject to rapid volatilization based on a reported vapor pressure of 2660 mm Hg at 25 deg C ; half-lives of 0.2 and 0.5 days were reported for volatilization from soil incorporated into 1 and 10 cm of oil, respectively . Any vinyl chloride which does not evaporate will be expected to be highly mobile in soil. It may be subject to biodegradation under anaerobic conditions such as exists in flooded soil and groundwater; however, limited existing data indicate that vinyl chloride is resistant to biodegradation in aerobic systems and therefore, it may not be subject to biodegradation in natural waters. It will not be expected to hydrolyze in soils under normal environmental conditions. AQUATIC FATE: If vinyl chloride is released to water, it will not be expected to hydrolyze, to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms or to adsorb to sediments. It will be subject to rapid volatilization with an estimated half-life of 0.805 hr for evaporation from a river 1 m deep with a current of 3 m/sec and a wind velocity of 3 m/sec(1,SRC). In waters containing photosensitizers such as humic acid, photodegradation will occur fairly rapidly. Limited existing data indicate that vinyl chloride is resistant to biodegradation in aerobic systems and therefore, it may not be subject to biodegradation in natural waters. ATMOSPHERIC FATE: If vinyl chloride is released to the atmosphere, it can be expected to exist mainly in the vapor-phase in the ambient atmosphere(1,SRC) based on a reported vapor pressure of 2660 mm Hg at 25 deg C . Gas phase vinyl chloride is expected to degrade rapidly in air by reaction with photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals with an estimated half-life of 1.5 days(3,SRC). Products of reaction in the atmosphere include chloroacetaldehyde, HCl, chloroethylene epoxide, formaldehyde, formyl chloride, formic acid, and carbon monoxide . In the presence of nitrogen oxides, eg photochemical smog situations, the half-life would be reduced to a few hours. AQUATIC FATE: The rate of bulk exchange of gaseous vinyl chloride between atmosphere and water is about twice that of oxygen. As a result the loss of vinyl chloride by volatilization from water is probably the most significant process in its distribution. There is little information pertaining specifically to the rate of adsorption onto particulate matter. In a study on the behavior of vinyl chloride in water no significant difference in the rate of loss from distilled water, river water, or effluent from a vinyl chloride plant stirred at the same rate was found, thus indicating negligible adsorption onto particulate matter. Aquatic sediments could exhibit long-term storage of low levels if extreme environmental conditions, such as continual high levels of vinyl chloride input were present in water. AQUATIC FATE: In environments such as municipal water chlorination facilities, high concentrations of chloride would exist. Under certain conditions, vinyl chloride may be converted to more highly chlorinated compounds based on the reactivity of carbon-carbon double bonds with chlorine and hypohalous acid. Dissolved vinyl chloride in water will readily escape into the gas phase, but chemical reactions can occur with water impurities which may inhibit its release. Many salts have the ability to form complexes with vinyl chloride and can increase its solubility. Therefore, the amounts of vinyl chloride in water could be influenced significantly by the presence of salts.
Drinking Water Impact DRINKING WATER: In the National Organic Monitoring Survey (1976-7) 2 samples out of 113 contained detectable levels (>0.1 ppb) and these averaged 0.14 ppb . Highest value found in USA drinking water is 10 ppb(5,7). 23% of 133 USA cities using finished surface water were pos, 0.1 to 9.8 ppb, 0.4 ppb median of pos samples . A finished groundwater survey in 25 USA cities resulted in 4.0% pos, 9.4 ppb mean(2,6). One contaminated drinking water well contained 50 ppb . Drinking water from PVC pipes contained 1.4 ppb in a recent installation, while a 9 yr old system had 0.03 to 0.06 ppb . DRINKING WATER: USA: National Screening Program, 1977-1981, 142 water supplies, 4.9% pos, trace to 76 ppb ; state sampling data, 1033 supplies sampled, 7.1% pos, trace to 380 ppb . GROUNDWATER: 4 of 1060 wells in New Jersey were positive . Vinyl chloride (VC) was present in the 10 most polluted wells from 408 New Jersey samples; however, vinyl chloride was not quantified . 15.4% of 13 US cities sampled were pos - 2.2 to 9.4 ppb, 5.8 ppb median(1,2). In a 9-state survey, 7% of the wells tested were positive, with a maximum value of 380 ppb reported . After train derailment in Manitoba on Mar 10, 1980, in which large amounts of VC was spilled in the snow, 10 ppm max occurred in groundwater which decreased to below 0.02 ppm by 10 wk after the spill(6). GROUNDWATER: USA 1982 National Ground Water Supply Survey, 466 samples, 1 sample pos at 1.1 ppb (1 ppb quantification limit) . SURFACE WATER: 9.8 ppb max value found in a 1981, 9 state survey(2,3). It was not detected in winter or summer samples from the Delaware River . Vinyl chloride has been detected in 21 out of 606 samples from New Jersey and other USA samples(6). 7.6% of 105 USA cities were positive with pos samples ranging from 0.2 to 5.1 ppb, 3.25 ppb median . On the basis of various model simulations it appears that vinyl chloride should not remain in the aquatic ecosystem under most natural conditions. The loss of vinyl chloride at constant temperature and pressure is a function of water turbulence and mixing efficiency. Experimental decrease of 16 mg/l is 96% in 2 hours when stirred rapidly at 22 deg C in an open beaker of distilled water. In contrast, quiescent water under the same conditions yielded a concn loss over 2 hours of only 25%. Assuming that all processes involved are strictly first order, the volatilization loss data above yields half-lives of 25.8 minutes for the stirred case and 290 minutes for the quiescent case. EFFL: The only industry with appreciable waste water effluents of vinyl chloride is the organic chemicals mfg/plastic industry where mean levels are 750 ppb . Waste water from 12 PVC plants in 7 USA areas ranged from 0.05 to 20 ppm with typical levels being 2 to 3 ppm . Vinyl chloride has been detected in effluents from chemical and latex plants in Long Beach, California . It was not detected in effluents from major municipal waste water discharges in Southern California . Groundwater from hazardous waste sites, CERCLA Database, 178 sites, 8.7% pos for vinyl chloride .

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