(Washington) American federal authorities announced Thursday that they had opened a procedure which could perhaps modify the regulation of PVC in the United States, an everyday material used from plumbing pipes to vinyl records.

Vinyl chloride, which makes up PVC (or polyvinyl chloride), is already classified as carcinogenic and is banned in particular in cosmetics or medicines.

But it remains common in the manufacture of piping, windows or packaging, despite restrictions all over the world.

Thursday’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focuses on the in-depth study of five chemical compounds, including vinyl chloride.

A decision “which is part of the promise” of President Joe Biden’s administration to “respond to environmental and toxic exposures,” according to the EPA press release.

This is “a first step, but we have been waiting for this first step for decades”, reacted to AFP Judith Enck, president of the Beyond Plastics association.

The EPA is giving itself one year to study these five products and decide whether or not to implement new regulations, which could go as far as a complete ban.

“Vinyl chloride can trigger an avalanche of health problems, including liver, brain and lung cancers, leukemia, lymphoma…” said Cynthia Palmer, an expert on the issue for Moms Clean Air Force. .

In October, in a press release preceding the announcement, the Vinyl Institute, which represents this industry, welcomed a decision which “will ensure that the production of vinyl chloride and PVC is safe. »

The derailment of a train and then the fire of wagons transporting vinyl chloride in March in Ohio led to some 2,000 evacuations and raised fears of serious environmental consequences.