Letter | Published:

Biological reactivity of PVC dust

Naturevolume 256pages664665 (1975) | Download Citation



CONCERN has been expressed about the biological potential of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and its associated monomer vinyl chloride monomer (VCM)1. During the industrial processing of PVC, workers can be exposed to varying quantities of this material in the form of a dust. At the present time, however, there is little detailed biological or biochemical information on the effects of inhaled or ingested PVC, or on the reactivity of this dust material. The biological reactivity of other dusts (silica, asbestos) have been studied by a haemolysis technique2 which is useful for assessing the degree of membrane-induced damage by a variety of toxic materials. Other in vitro screening systems using lung3 and other cells4 have also provided useful information on structural and biochemical changes induced by particulate matter. Here we report on the haemolytic potential of PVC dust, comparison of which is made with the highly haemolytic and biologically reactive chrysotile asbestos A (UICC standard reference sample) and the effect of PVC on lung fibroblast cultures.

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  1. 1

    Selikoff, I. J., and Hammond, E. C., (Eds), Toxicity of Vinyl chloride–Polyvinyl chloride, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 246, 377 (1975).

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    Harington, J. S., Miller, K., and MacNab, G., Environ. Res., 4, 95–117 (1971).

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    Richards, R. J., and Morris, T. G., Life Sci., 12, 441–451 (1973).

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    Allison, A., Harington, J. S., and Birbeck, M. J., J. exp. Med., 124, 141–161 (1966).

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    Richards, R. J., and Wusteman, F. S., in Tissue Culture in Medical Research, 91–99 (Heinemann, London, 1974).

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  1. Department of Biochemistry, University College, PO Box 78, Cardiff, CF1 1XL, UK

    • R. J. RICHARDS
    • , P. M. HEXT
    •  & F. A. ROSE


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