This morning, Moms Clean Air Force joined our partners at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC, to call on the agency to ban the toxic chemical vinyl chloride. Together, we delivered more than 27,000 petition signatures—including more than 12,500 signatures from Moms members—in support of a vinyl chloride ban.
Vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen used almost exclusively to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. A wide variety of common products are made of PVC, such as plumbing pipes, floor covering, shower curtains, and even children’s toys. When the vinyl chloride in PVC burns, new toxic chemicals are formed, including dioxins—the most toxic chemical known to science. The February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, was a chilling example of the threat petrochemicals like vinyl chloride pose to people in the US. Five train cars carrying vinyl chloride burned there, but this toxic chemical has been impacting human health far and wide for decades.
Today, Almeta Cooper, Moms Clean Air Force National Manager for Health Equity, gave remarks about the dangers of vinyl chloride. She was joined by East Palestine residents, policy experts, and environmental leaders, including Judith Enck from Beyond Plastics, Heather McTeer Toney from Beyond Petrochemicals, and Jessica Conard from the Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment, among others.
Here is an excerpt of Almeta’s remarks. (Read her full remarks here.)
“As an African American woman, I am deeply concerned about implementing commonsense solutions to alleviate the disproportionate environmental and health harms on Black, Brown, and low-wealth communities. Vinyl chloride, a dangerous pollutant, is produced, processed, transported, landfilled, and incinerated in these communities, which are some of the most underserved and overburdened communities in this country. ‘Environmental justice’ must be more than just words; we must ensure that there is meaningful action taken to protect families in vulnerable communities…
“Vinyl chloride can contaminate the air we breathe and the water we drink. This explosive and toxic chemical puts innocent lives in danger in their homes, schools, and playgrounds. Vinyl chloride is often manufactured or incinerated in neighborhoods such as those located in Louisiana, Texas, and Kentucky that are already overburdened by pollution and the long-term impact of discriminatory housing policies like redlining. It’s unfair and unjust that these communities of color and low-wealth communities bear the health risks of producing PVC plastic.
“In addition to the horrors of vinyl chloride disasters related to its production in communities like Mossville, near Lake Charles, Louisiana, alarmingly there is inadequate regulation of the potential danger to unsuspecting neighborhoods when vinyl chloride is transported across the country resulting in disasters such as the train derailments in February 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio, and in Paulsboro, New Jersey, in November 2012…
“Now is the time to stop using this toxic substance in any form.”