If a PVC exposure injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a PVC exposure injury, we can help. You can make a hazardous substances compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist solicitor.

In this article

    You are not alone

    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 PVC.

    See also:

    Benzene and industrial chemicals exposure claims

    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 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.

    See also:

    Burn injury claims

    Testing for Vinyl Chloride

    If your exposure to PVC was relatively recent, it may be possible to detect its presence in your . If this is possible, the chemical would be found in your urine or 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.

    Am I entitled to make a PVC exposure claim?

    If you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, you will be able to claim compensation.

    Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.

    How long do I have to claim PVC exposure compensation?

    An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.

    If you were not immediately aware that you were harmed by someone else's negligence, the 3-year time limit runs from the date you were diagnosed and became aware of what caused your injury or illness.

    How much compensation can I claim for a PVC exposure?

    Your injury compensation is calculated with reference to:

    • the severity of your injury or illness, and
    • the financial losses or costs you have incurred.

    Your solicitor will evaluate the impact of your injuries or illness on your life, considering these factors to determine the appropriate compensation amount.

    PVC exposure compensation calculator

    Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

    Updated December 2023 Compensation Calculator v3.04

    General damages

    General damages are compensation for the "pain, suffering, and loss of amenity" or have experienced (or PSLA). These compensation levels are set by the Judicial College, which provides detailed guidelines for personal injury award calculations.

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

    Special damages

    Special damages is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your PVC exposure Compensation can include loss of wages, commission and any other income income, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.

    These damages may also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as medical monitoring and psychological support.

    Read more:

    A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

    Employers' liability claims claims

    Work-related illness claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:


    How long does an injury claim take?

    What are my chances of winning my claim?

    Will my claim go to court?

    Can I claim for someone else?

    How long do I have to make an injury claim?

    No win, no fee PVC exposure compensation claims

    With no win, no fee, you can claim PVC exposure compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

    Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

    How we can help you with your injury claim

    Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

    • Tick icon FREE consultation
    • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
    • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

    If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:

    Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm

    Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

    Call me back
    Review testimonial image
    Quittance testimonial quotation marks

    Handled with the utmost professionalism... extremely kind, courteous and empathetic.

    The Good Solicitor Guide

    Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

    Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher