Vinyl chloride marine risk assessment with special reference to the OSPARCOM region: North Sea

Environ Monit Assess. 2004 Oct;97(1-3):57-67. doi: 10.1023/b:emas.0000033045.11795.57.


This risk assessment on vinyl chloride was carried out specifically for the marine environment, according to the methodology laid down in the European Union (EU) risk assessment Regulation (1488/94) and the Technical Guidance Documents for New and Existing Substances (TGD, 1996). Vinyl chloride is used for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The study consisted of the collection and evaluation of data on effects and environmental concentrations from analytical monitoring programmes in large rivers and estuaries in the North Sea area. The risk is indicated by the ratio of the Predicted Exposure Concentration (PEC) and the Predicted No-Effect Concentration (PNEC) for the marine aquatic environment. In total 6 studies for fish, 3 studies for invertebrates and one for algae have been evaluated. The appropriate assessment factors have been used to calculate a PNEC of 210 microg/l based on short-term exposure. For coastal waters and estuaries a worst case PEC of 0.15 microg/l is derived. For river waters a typical and worst case PEC of <0.008 and 0.4 microg/l is derived, respectively. These concentrations, which do not take into account any dilution within the sea, correspond to safety margins from 500 to 250,000 between the aquatic effect and the exposure concentration. Vinyl chloride is not a 'toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate' substance sensu the Oslo and Paris Conventions for the Prevention of Marine Pollution (OSPAR-DYNAMEC). It can be concluded that the present use of vinyl chloride does not present a risk to the marine aquatic environment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / toxicity*
  • Eukaryota
  • Fishes
  • Invertebrates
  • North Sea
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivers
  • Safety
  • Vinyl Chloride / toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Carcinogens
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Vinyl Chloride