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Vinyl Chloride Released Into the Air after Train Derails in New Jersey

EMSL Analytical tests for vinyl chloride in our industrial hygiene laboratories nationwide.


Friday morning an 84-car train carrying hazardous materials derailed on a swing-bridge across Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, New Jersey, causing the bridge to collapse and send four train cars into the river. The train cars contained hazardous chemicals, including vinyl chloride, which leaked into the river and nearby air.

To prevent exposure to these chemical, residents living in a 12 block radius from the accident were evacuated while those in surrounding towns were instructed to stay indoors with windows closed.

Early Monday morning, vinyl chloride detected in the air reached an unsafe level of over one part per million. Schools were closed and workers were pulled from the clean-up site due to the dangers of the toxic chemical.

Vinyl chloride is a gas substance with a sweet odor that is highly toxic and flammable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen. Short term exposure to vinyl chloride in air has caused central nervous system effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. Long term exposure to vinyl chloride through inhalation or oral exposure can result in liver damage.

“Inhalation of vinyl chloride has also been shown to increase the risk of a rare liver cancer in humans, according to the EPA,” states Scott Van Etten, CIH, EMSL Analytical’s National Director of Industrial Hygiene. “EMSL Analytical, the nation’s leading industrial hygiene laboratory, provides advanced testing for vinyl chloride in air and environmental samples at our fully equipped and accredited laboratories nationwide.” “At our headquarters in Cinnaminson, NJ, just twenty miles north of the accident, EMSL offers TO-15 testing for low levels of vinyl chloride for homes and businesses, and NIOSH1007 testing for exposure assessment for workers,” he continued.

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nation’s leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public. Please visit our website for a complete listing of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies



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