Occupational exposure to vinyl chloride has produced cancer of the blood vessels of the liver, and possibly cancers of the brain, lung, lymphatic system and blood and other liver cancers. A multi-site carcinogenic action was evident in laboratory animals, carcinogenic potential being seen in inhalation studies in rats, mice, hamsters and rabbits and in oral studies in rats. A single 1-hr inhalation exposure was sufficient to produce tumours in mice. Chromosomal damage has been recorded in the white blood cells of vinyl chloride-exposed workforces. Similar effects occurred in laboratory animals exposed by inhalation and a wide range of in vitro screening assays also gave evidence of genotoxic potential.

A range of toxic effects have developed in vinyl chloride-exposed workforces, with the bones, blood, liver and spleen being the principal sites of attack. In repeated oral and inhalation studies in laboratory animals, the most common target of vinyl chloride’s toxic action was the liver. Acute exposure to high concentrations did not cause any immediate overt effects.

An increased miscarriage rate has been reported among the wives of men occupationally exposed to vinyl chloride. Reproductive inhalation studies in several species of laboratory animals indicated a reduced fertility in rats and a weak foetotoxic action in mice, but provided little evidence of any ability to induce malformations.

Date of Publication: 1991

Number of Pages: 8

CAS Number*: 75-01-4

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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