Vinyl Chloride Train Wreck


This is a real bad situation it is a train wreck in all definitions of the phrase. The river / surface water contamination should be gone, assuming reasonable oxygenation within a few weeks to a few months (still exposure risk till then).

The groundwater in the immediate area and surface contamination is a different story. The lack of acknowledgement of the real risks.

For people at home if your water smells sweet TAKE ACTION – BE SAFE. If you are not sure, take action.

For drinking water, active charcoal will filter it. That means a Big Berkey, Zero Water, other active charcoal filter or reverse osmosis unit will filter out Vinyl Choloride. BUT it can still be a risk for showers. (more info below)

What is Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride is a toxic and carcinogenic substance that can pose significant risks to human health and the environment. Exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in the air or water can cause acute health effects such as headaches, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of liver damage, immune system dysfunction, and cancer, particularly liver cancer.  Studies have also suggested a possible link between vinyl chloride exposure and decreased fertility in both men and women. In addition, exposure during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects.

How long will it last?

In addition to the risks associated with direct exposure, vinyl chloride can contaminate soil and water, posing a risk to plants and animals. It can persist in the environment for many years, and even low levels of exposure over time can have negative impacts on human health and the ecosystem.  

In soil, it can persist for several months to years, while in groundwater, it can persist for decades. Proper remediation techniques are necessary to effectively reduce and eliminate the risk of vinyl chloride contamination.

What are Dangerous Exposure Levels

OSHA set a permissible exposure limit of 1 part per million (ppm) for vinyl chloride in workplace air over an 8-hour workday. And exposure to vinyl chloride in drinking water is also set at 0.002 milligrams per liter (mg/L) by the EPA.


Remediation options for vinyl chloride contamination include treating contaminated water and soil with various techniques such as air sparging, activated carbon filtration, bioremediation, and chemical oxidation.

It breaks down to Dichloroethene and vinylidene chloride. These are relatively stable compounds under normal conditions but are still dangerous. They can persist in the environment for several months to years depending on various factors such as temperature, sunlight, and the presence of other chemicals. However, they can undergo degradation by certain microorganisms and chemical reactions.

Dichloroethene and vinylidene chloride are also toxic and have similar health risks to vinyl chloride. Exposure to high levels of these chemicals can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of cancer. Like vinyl chloride, they are also considered environmental pollutants that can contaminate groundwater and soil.

Which water filters block VINYL CHLORIDE?

Big Berkey Water Filter
ZeroWater Water Filter
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
Others with activated charcoal filter systems

Filtering is not a 100% fix. Filtering will make the FILTERED water safe, but if your water supply is contaminated, showering, bathing, or cooking with the water can release vinyl chloride into the air where you can breathe it. It can also be absorbed through the skin or into food if the water you cook or clean with contaminates food and/or utensils .

Related info:

How do i know it is there?

Vinyl chloride has a mild, sweet odor, which may become noticeable at 3,000 parts vinyl chloride per million parts (ppm) of air. However, the odor is of little value in preventing excess exposure. Most people begin to taste vinyl chloride in water at 3.4 ppm.


I did a quick conversation with ChatGPT. This is what it came up with


Based on the risks associated with vinyl chloride exposure, the following recommendations are suggested:

  1. Remediation: Implement a comprehensive remediation plan that addresses all sources of vinyl chloride contamination in soil, water, and air. The plan should include monitoring and testing of contaminated areas, identification of appropriate remediation techniques, and regular updates to assess the effectiveness of the remediation efforts.
  2. Communication: Communicate the risks associated with vinyl chloride exposure to the public, stakeholders, and workers in affected areas. This should include information on the health effects of vinyl chloride exposure, recommended safety measures, and updates on remediation efforts.
  3. Urgency: Given the risks associated with vinyl chloride exposure, it is recommended that remediation efforts be prioritized and implemented as soon as possible. This will help to reduce the potential for further exposure and mitigate the associated risks.
  4. Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Dehalococcoides: Consider the use of Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Dehalococcoides in the remediation of vinyl chloride. These bacteria have been shown to effectively consume vinyl chloride and could be a valuable tool in the remediation effort.

Overall, it is important to take a proactive approach to addressing the risks associated with vinyl chloride exposure. By implementing a comprehensive remediation plan, communicating the risks to stakeholders, prioritizing the effort, and using effective remediation techniques, we can mitigate the potential health and environmental risks associated with vinyl chloride contamination.

In terms of recommendations for remediation, it is important to consider a combination of methods, such as air sparging, bioremediation, and activated carbon adsorption, depending on the extent of the contamination and the location of the source. It is also recommended to regularly monitor the levels of vinyl chloride and other contaminants in the environment, and to ensure that any remediation efforts are in compliance with relevant regulations and guidelines.

In terms of communication and urgency, it is important to inform the public about the risks of vinyl chloride exposure and the steps being taken to remediate the contamination. It is also recommended to prioritize the cleanup of areas with the highest levels of contamination, and to ensure that all remediation efforts are conducted as quickly and effectively as possible to minimize the risks to human health and the environment.


I shared the ChatGPT info because with very little input I was able to get very detailed information and a report with recommendations in less than 15 minutes. AI is scary as hell, but also can be used for GOOD THINGS.

Stay safe, protect yourself and your loved ones. A good filter is useful for day to day activity and critical in an emergency!

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