Technical Factsheet on: VINYL CHLORIDE
List of Drinking Water Contaminants
This fact sheet is part of a collection of fact sheets for volatile organic chemicals with drinking water
Health Effects Summary
Acute: Occupational inhalation exposure to high levels (e.g., 40 - 900 ppm ) may cause neurological
effects such dizziness, headaches, or narcosis in workers.
EPA's short-term health advisory a 10-kg (22 lb.) child consuming 1 liter of water per day is 3 mg/L for
one-day to ten-day exposures.
Chronic: Oral ingestion at high levels (0.1 mg/L) may cause liver effects from life-time exposure.
Cancer: Based on epidemiological and animal studies, vinyl chloride is carcinogenic in humans when
inhaled, and it is considered to be a human carcinogen from oral exposure.
Drinking Water Standards
MCLG: zero mg/L
MCL: 0.002 mg/L
Usage Patterns
Production of vinyl chloride in 1993 was nearly 14 billion lbs.
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.
Limited quantities of vinyl chloride were used in the United States as an aerosol propellant, a refrigerant,
an extraction solvent and as an ingredient of drug and cosmetic products. Proportions consumed for
various uses in 1989 were: polyvinyl chloride products, 91%; exports, 7%; other, including chlorinated
solvents, 2%.
Release Patterns
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. Vinyl chloride is also a
product of anaerobic degradation of chlorination solvents such as would be expected to occur in
groundwater and landfills.
Small quantities of vinyl chloride can be released to food by migration of vinyl chloride monomer present
in polyvinyl chloride food wrappings and containers. 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
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, based on a high vapor
pressure of 2,600 mm Hg at 25 degrees C. Based on a reported water solubility of 2,700 mg/L, a Koc of
56 was estimated. According to estimated Koc values, vinyl chloride will be expected to be 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 released to water, vinyl chloride will rapidly evaporate. Using a reported Henry's Law constant of 0.0560
atm/cu m-mole, a half-life of 0.805 hr was calculated for evaporation from a model river 1 m deep with a
current of 3 m/sec and with 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.
Some data indicate that vinyl chloride is too readily volatilized to undergo bioaccumulation, except
perhaps in the most extreme exposure conditions. Based on a reported water solubility of 2,700 mg/l, a
BCF of 7 was estimated, indicating that vinyl chloride will not be expected to significantly bioconcentrate
in aquatic organisms.
Chemical/Physical Properties
CAS Number: 75-01-4
Color/ Form/Odor: Colorless gas, sweet odor
M.P.: -13.37 C B.P.: -153.2 C
Vapor Pressure: 2600 mm Hg at 25 C
Density/Spec. Grav.: 0.91 at 20 C
Octanol/Water Partition (Kow): Log Kow = 0.6 (calculated)
Solubility: 2.7 g/L of water; Slightly soluble in water
Soil sorption coefficient: Koc estimated at 56; highly mobile in soil
Odor/Taste Thresholds: N/A
Bioconcentration Factor: Estimated BCF = 7; not expected to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms.
Henry's Law Coefficient: 0.0560 atm-cu m/mole;

Trade Names/Synonyms: Chlorethene; Chlorethylene; monochloroethene; Monovinyl chloride (MVC);
Other Regulatory Information
	For Ground/Surface Water Sources:
o Initial Frequency- 4 quarterly samples every 3 years
o Repeat Frequency- Annually after 1 year of no detection
	Triggers - Return to Initial Freq. if detect at > 0.0005 mg/L
Reference Source	Method Numbers
EPA 600/4-88-039	502.2; 524.2
Treatment/Best Available Technologies: Granular Activated Charcoal and Packed Tower Aeration
For Additional Information
EPA can provide further regulatory or other general information:
EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline - 800/426-4791
Other sources of toxicological and environmental fate data include:
	Toxic Substance Control Act Information Line - 202/554-1404
	Toxics Release Inventory, National Library of Medicine - 301/496-6531
	Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry - 404/639-6000