PVC exposure compensation claims

Updated: October 8, 2018

Introduction

The Health and Safety Executive states that Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) contains a number of 'thermal degradation products' that are released when the material is heated.

PVC manufacturing-related chemicals are a common source of work-related illness and, in cases of an employer's negligence, subsequent industrial disease claims.

Many of PVC's thermal degradation chemicals are harmful and include:

  • Benzene
  • Hydrogen Chloride
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Toluene Styrene
  • Naphthalene
  • Indene
  • Methanol
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Phenanthrene

Neither PVC nor its thermal degradation products were considered dangerous until the 1960s. Since 1974, there have been strict regulations designed to minimise exposure to PVC. High exposure to the chemical is now thought to cause a range of serious illnesses, including liver cancer.

Employers are now legally obliged to protect their staff from harmful levels of exposure to polyvinyl chloride.

Chemical worker
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Do I have a PVC exposure claim?

If you were injured as the result of PVC exposure in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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What are the symptoms of PVC exposure?

If you are exposed to vinyl chloride for a short period of time by inhalation, you may experience coughing and find that breathing becomes more difficult. Headaches and a feeling of extreme tiredness can also result from inhaling vinyl chloride. In extreme cases, high levels of short term inhalation can induce a coma.

If PVC is swallowed, or ingested, it can cause a person to vomit and to experience pain in the stomach. If the chemical enters the body via the skin, vinyl chloride can cause skin irritation, burns injuries and dermatitis. Those who ingest harmful levels of PVC are often not immediately aware of any immediate ill-effects, which can make it difficult to establish later how the exposure occurred.

Individuals who once worked in the manufacturing industry may be diagnosed with a condition that relates to PVC exposure that occurred years earlier.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classed vinyl chloride as a known human carcinogen. The EPA has reported that when some workers were exposed to PVC, they developed a condition known as 'vinyl chloride disease'. The disease has similar symptoms to Raynaud's disease: numbness and pain in the fingers; pain in the joints and muscles; and some skin changes. Long term exposure to vinyl chloride is also reported to have had various effects on the nervous system.

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Testing for Vinyl Chloride

If your exposure to PVC was relatively recent, it may be possible to detect its presence in your body. If this is possible, the chemical would be found in your urine or body tissues. If your exposure to vinyl chloride occurred several years ago, it may be difficult to find conclusive proof.

However, if you have had symptoms that suggest exposure to PVC, and a medical professional considers that your condition was caused by your previous working environment, you may be able to claim compensation for what has happened. Such a claim could help you to cope with the consequences of being exposed to vinyl chloride, and achieve redress for your suffering.

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No Win, No Fee PVC injury claims explained

A PVC injury No Win, No Fee compensation claim is started after a Claimant agrees, with a solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

The document explains the work the solicitor handling your case delivers in addition to a percentage success fee to be taken from the total compensation when your case is won.

There are absolutely no hidden costs with a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor. You can focus on your recovery, knowing that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset.

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How much compensation can I claim for PVC exposure?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

Use our Online Compensation Calculator
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Meet our team

The national network of QLS solicitors handle all types of industrial disease claims, from less-severe claims to serious, long-term injury. Selected for their track record in recovering compensation, Quittance's panel solicitors have years of experience.

Click here to see more of the Quittance team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Tim Fieldhouse Industrial Disease Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

About the author

With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.

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