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Vinyl Chloride: Small market, 'unlimited liability'

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 see the vinyl pollutors in your state

On Jan. 30, 1973, the Manufacturing Chemists Association's vinyl chloride research team, with representatives from Dow, PPG, B.F. Goodrich, Ethyl Corporation, Union Carbide, and other major companies present, met to discuss what position the MCA should convey to its member companies regarding the continued use of vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant. Their primary concern was to avoid "undue and premature attention on the industrial hygiene aspects of the problem," and they dealt with it by taking no position. (view entire document)

Not only was the MCA avoiding public discussion of VCM use in aerosols, they were also avoiding disclosure of the emerging evidence that VCM causes cancer. At that same meeting in January 1973, they discussed a proposed industry-sponsored VCM research project to be carried out by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories:

Quoted Text
(view entire document)

In the months following the meeting, internal memos from various chemical companies in attendance provide additional details of the discussion. Again and again, the chemical makers returned to a comparison of liability vs. profitability. This issue was clear: how to protect the larger vinyl market from the potential enormous liability presented by the use of vinyl chloride in consumer aerosols.

How could vinyl producers get out of the VCM business without raising suspicion about its safety?

A 1973 document paper from Allied Chemical clarifies the range of options for the industry. (view entire document) Industry apparently choose option c, "Orderly withdrawal from market, without explanation" In the end, companies simply stopped selling VCM as an aerosol propellant, informing their clients by making "personal visits to substantial fillers" to discreetly advise them that they were cutting them off. (view entire document)

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last updated: march.27.2009

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