Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

The Program
Overview
The Documents
Vinyl Chloride
Regulatory War
The Interviews
The Problem
The Evidence
The Options


Discuss the Program
Buy Video
Program CreditsTranscript
Database of All EWG Documents
Email to a friend Make a Pledge
Moyers Mailing List
The Program : The Documents
Click for Adobe Acrobat Reader
May 12, 1959
To: Director, Department of Industrial Hygiene, The BF Goodrich Company.

"We have been investigating vinyl chloride a bit. ... We feel quite confident that 500 parts per million is going to produce rather appreciable injury when inhaled 7 hours a day, five days a week for an extended period."

view page   |  download pdf file
November 24, 1959
Inter-company Correspondence, Union Carbide Company.

“An off-the-record phone call from V.K. Rowe gives me incomplete data on their current repeated inhalation study. …Vinyl chloride monomer is more toxic than has been believed.”

view page   |  download pdf file
November 12, 1964
Letter re: hand disease

“We have recently observed several cases of hand disabilities in one of our plants, the cause of which is as yet unknown. We would like to determine as quietly as possible whether similar disabilities might exist in the Avon Lake Plant, and for this reason I would like to have you casually examine our employees’ hands as part of any other medical service you provide to them … I would appreciate you proceeding with this problem as rapidly as possible, but doing it incidentally to other examinations of our personnel. We do not wish to have this discussed at all, and I request that you maintain this information in confidence.”

view page   |  download pdf file
June 6-7, 1966
Summary of Meeting on Hand Disease

"Gentlemen: There is no question but that skin lesions, absorption of bone of the terminal joints of the hands, and circulatory changes can occur in workers associated with the polymerization of PVC."

view page   |  download pdf file
June 10, 1966
Letter from B.F. Goodrich; June 6-7, 1966 Summary of Meeting on Hand Disease

“Of course the confidentiality of this data is exceedingly important.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 6, 1966
Meeting PVC Resin Producers

“May be a systemic disease as opposed to a purely localized disease (fingers). ...They hope all will use discretion in making the problem public. …They particularly want to avoid exposes like Silent Spring and Unsafe at Any Speed.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 7, 1966
"The clinical manifestations are such as to suggest the possibility of a disabling disease as a later development."

view page   |  download pdf file
January 18, 1967
BF Goodrich Status Report re: hand disease

“…A research grant was made to the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan by MCA to conduct an epidemiological study. Nineteen companies agreed to participate by making hand x-rays and completing detailed work histories of their manufacturing personnel.”

view page   |  download pdf file
February 1969
Confidential Report to the Medical Advisory Committee, MCA

“The association between reactor cleaning and then occurrence of acroosteolysis is sufficiently clear cut. The severity of exposure of reactor cleaner to vinyl chloride should be kept at a minimum…”

view page   |  download pdf file
March 24, 1969
BF Goodrich Chemical Company

Subject: Some new information
“Calculations have been made to show the concentration of propellant in a typical small hairdresser’s room. … All of this suggests that beauty operators may be exposed to concentrations of vinyl chloride monomer equal to or greater than the level in our polys.”

view page   |  download pdf file
April 30, 1969
MCA Occupational Health Committee

“A motion to accept the report as submitted was then defeated by a vote of 7 to 3. … Eliminate the last sentence ‘Sufficient ventilation should be provided to reduce the vinyl chloride concentration below 50 parts per million.’”

view page   |  download pdf file
November 23, 1971
MCA Occupational Health Committee

“Publishing of Doctor Viola's work in the U.S. could lead to serious problems with regard to the vinyl chloride monomer and resin industry.”

view page   |  download pdf file
December 14, 1971
Ad hoc planning group for Vinyl Chloride Research

“The need to be able to assure the employees of the industry that management was concerned for, and diligent in seeking the information necessary to protect their health. … The need to develop data useful in defense of the industry against invalid claims for injury for alleged occupational or community exposure.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 19, 1972
MCA memo to Technical Task Group re: VC Research

“According to this agreement, the members of our task group, as listed on the attached sheet, are the only ones entitled to receive information about the European project.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 30, 1972
Imperial Chemists Association memo to MCA re: VC Research

“… We pledge to hold such information strictly in confidence within our company unless and until formally notified specific consent to its release has been granted by the European sponsors.”

view page   |  download pdf file
January 30, 1973
Manufacturing Chemists Association Minutes of Meeting

“The limited commercial value of the aerosol propellant market, in contrast with the unlimited potential for product liability claims, was stressed as justification for serious consideration by the manufacturers of withdrawing form this market. All recognized that in insistent discouragement of the use of vinyl chloride as a propellant might focus undue and premature attention on the industrial hygiene aspects of the problem.”

view page   |  download pdf file
February 5, 1973
Ethyl Corporation, Inter-Office, Subject: Vinyl Chloride

“All agreed the results certainly indicate a positive carcinogenic effect above (or at?) 250 parts per million.”

view page   |  download pdf file
February 5, 1973
Ethyl Corporation, Inter-Office Memo

“A question was raised regarding public relations aspects of this matter and MCA staff is prepared to state (if approached) that MCA is cognizant of Viola’s work, presently … Dow indicated they have been considering (in the interest of self-protection) advising their customers to tighten up operations as much as possible in anticipation of a probable gross lowering of the TLV. … Dow is questioning the aspect of making sales of vinyl chloride monomer when the known end use is as an aerosol propellant since market is small but potential liability is great."

view page   |  download pdf file
February 13, 1973
Union Carbide, Internal Correspondence

“Dow Chemical reviewed the work on the European Study. They report the results on rats are probably undeniable. … If vinyl chloride proves to be hazardous to health, a producing company’s liability to its employees is limited by various Workmen’s Compensation laws. A company selling vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant, however, has essentially unlimited liability to the entire U.S. population.”

view page   |  download pdf file
March 1, 1973
Allied Chemical Corporation, Subject: Vinyl Chloride Monomer.

"Concerning use of vinyl chloride monomer as aerosol propellant … serious consideration should be given to withdrawal from this market since the value of market was limited and potential for liability great."

view page   |  download pdf file
March 5, 1973
Dow Chemical Confidential memo, in re: Secrecy Agreement

“2. We must obtain data to refute, or to explain the European data. Participation by the Government in designing the tests will commit them to the results. If we proceed with testing solely by the industry, chances are that the Government will recommend that further testing should be done.”

view page   |  download pdf file
March 26, 1973
Letter to John D. Bryan, Conoco Chemicals

“There is the aspect of moral obligation not to withhold from the Government significant information having occupational and environmental relevance and the desirability of industry taking the initiative rather than at some later time having to defend another course.”

view page   |  download pdf file
May 21, 1973
Manufacturing Chemists Association

“We should not volunteer reference to the European project, but in response to direct inquiry, we could not deny awareness of the project and knowledge concerning certain preliminary results.”

view page   |  download pdf file
May 31, 1973
Union Carbide. Internal Correspondence.

“The MCA letter to company executive contacts dated March 26, 1973, could be construed as evidence of an illegal conspiracy by industry…If the information were not made public or at least made available to the government.”

view page   |  download pdf file
July 17,1973
Confidential - Notes of Meeting between reps of MCA, Rockville, MD

“Dr. Jacobson mentioned having been puzzled by a recent phone inquiry about inability to purchase vinyl chloride for use as an aerosol propellant. Speaking as a representative of his company, Dr. Rowe stated they are no longer selling it for this purpose.”

view page   |  download pdf file
July 19, 1973
Union Carbide Internal Correspondence re: VC Research MCA Report to NIOSH

“The presentation was extremely well received and … the chances of precipitous action by NIOSH on vinyl chloride were materially lessened. NIOSH did not appear to want to alienate a cooperative industry.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 15, 1973
Vinyl Chloride Epidemiological Study, Progress Report.

“Several companies have indicated that they do not wish their terminated employees to be contacted directly.”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 25, 1973
TCA-VCM Epidemiological Progress Report

“This becomes even more complicated when one seeks information from relatives of past employees who have subsequently died. …In other words, we need the information, but at what risk.”

view page   |  download pdf file
May 24, 1974
Meeting with MCA on Vinyl Chloride

“A recent conversation with V.K. Rowe in May 1974 elicited the comment, after he had consulted his notes of the meeting, that NIOSH had been told that the new Italian study had tumors at 250 ppm but not at lower concentrations. NIOSH staff notes and recollections are non-confirmatory.”

view page   |  download pdf file
July 19, 1974
Letter to A.W. Barnes from William Lloyd

“As best I could determine, no representative of NIOSH was ever made aware of these findings prior to January 22, 1974, and even on that date, they were transmitted with the stipulation that they be kept confidential.”

view page   |  download pdf file
November 7, 1974
Letter to Doctor Key from Cesare Maltoni

“In relation to the reference in Mr. Rowlands' letter to the report by MCA that it had begun to sponsor VC-PVC research in Europe in March 1972, I wish to avoid any possible confusion by making it clear that MCA has at no time promoted or supported our own research.”

view page   |  download pdf file
June 18, 1976
Ethyl Corporation Inter-Office Mail, Vinyl Chloride

“At present the epidemiological work has amply demonstrated an association between high exposures to VCM and an increase in angiosarcoma of the liver, brain and lung tumors. The liver tumors are the most evident.”

view page   |  download pdf file
March 4, 1980
CMA- Vinyl Chloride Technical Panel Meeting

“Timing of follow-up brain cancer cases is critical. Controversial issue here, thus we need to act quickly…Comment that we may find out what we do not want to know with regards to brain cancer. If a company has a brain cancer questionable incidence, which Union Carbide has, then should people be contacted. Union Carbide does not want any contact with families…Should consider what else could cause brain cancer besides vinyl chloride. Six of the 12 cancers reported are in Louisville…the findings of higher than normal brain tumors.”

view page   |  download pdf file
September 26, 1980
PPG, CMA/VCM Research Coordinators Task Group Meeting

“The findings of higher than normal brain tumors in the original study was never followed up as suggested…The proposed research would not shed any further angiosarcomas, but it may not support the animal data that vinyl chloride causes other types of cancer…If we can gain information to help in future lawsuits, then this effort would be worthwhile.”

view page   |  download pdf file
November 17, 1980
Vinyl Chloride Research Committee Meeting

“The benefit of updating the first study versus doing a case control study on the known results of the first study, i. e. brain cancers, was discussed. This question was left open for future consideration.”

view page   |  download pdf file
December 28, 1981
Conoco exposure record for Dan Ross

"Exceeds short-term exposure"
"Do not include on wire to Houston."

view page   
December 3, 1982
UCC Internal Correspondence, Vinyl Chloride Study

“Among these 73 employees are many who will show up as unexposed to vinyl chloride, yet they are in the cohort. This is due to the fact that they are coded on UC-2 as laborers in the maintenance department which is not a department which we include as exposed to VC…”

view page   |  download pdf file
October 14, 1986
BF Goodrich Inter-Organizational Correspondence

“At present, I find nothing to suggest that any excess of brain cancers at Louisville is due to any workplace exposure other than VCM. With the reduction in exposures to VCM and AN and probably to other chemicals as well, I hope that the incidence of all cancer will drop to less than or certainly no greater than that of the general population and we will not need to and will be unable to identify occupational causes.”

view page   |  download pdf file
August 1995
PPG & Vista – Partners in a New VCM Facility

“Study after study has confirmed that there is no evidence that vinyl affects human health – not for workers in the industry, not for people living near vinyl-related manufacturing facilities, not for those who use the hundreds of vinyl consumer and industrial products.”

view page   |  download pdf file

Resources  |  Program Credits  |  Site Credits  |  Site Map  |  Bulletin Boards  |   Home