Best Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector (Toxic Gas in 2024)

C2H3Cl Gas Detector, Vinyl Chloride Detector -

Best Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector (Toxic Gas in 2024)

A vinyl chloride gas detector is important when dealing with vinyl chloride gas, a colorless, combustible, and rapidly evaporating gas used in the production of plastic kitchenware, wire coatings, automobile upholstery, and PVC pipes. Vinyl chloride gas detectors play a vital role in measuring toxic concentrations in the air and alerting indoor occupants to take action and avoid exposure injuries. Inhalation of vinyl chloride gas can be extremely harmful to humans, making reliable detection essential. While gas detector tubes have traditionally been used, the advancement and cost reduction of electrochemical sensor technology have made handheld vinyl chloride gas detectors a more accessible and effective solution for ensuring safety in environments where this hazardous gas may be present.



  • Colorless, combustible & evaporates quickly
  • Vinyl Chloride digital gas detectors are now available and affordable
  • Gives an instantaneous ppm concentration reading
  • Vinyl Chloride has many uses in our modern world. 
  • Vinyl Chloride gas is toxic to humans and can off gas in many instances accumulating to dangerous levels
  • Vinyl Chloride gas is frequently present in cigarettes and off-gas and outgas from vinyl products
  • Vinyl Chloride exposure can result in serious harm to those exposed

Best Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector?

There are two varieties of C2H3Cl gas detectors. Traditionally the gas has been detected using gas detector tubes. But more recently, things have. been much easier, with the advent of electrochemical gas sensors.

The best electronic handheld gas detector that provide a real-time continuous measurement in ppm concentration levels to vinyl chloride is here:

Tube type gas detectors are also useful but not as accurate in providing quantitative information and do not allow for instantaneous gas level read out. Some good option include:

Vinyl Chloride Gas and Train Derailment?

A major spill of vinyl chloride occurred in East Palestine, Ohio, in February 2023. Vinyl chloride – the chemical in several of the train cars that derailed and burned wreaked havoc.

The chemicals being transported in the rail cars penetrated the surrounding environment releasing 1.1 million pounds. Authorities conducted a controlled burn to avoid a catastrophic explosion of vinyl chloride, a highly flammable poison. 

Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector

Who Needs to Detect Vinyl Chloride Gas?

PVC products are all around us and useful to our modern life. However, under certain circumstances, vinyl chloride can becomes into gaseous form and create a health hazard to humans. In some case, vinyl chloride may need to be detected to ensure safety.

  • Employees who work in environments where vinyl chloride is generated or utilized may primarily be exposed by breathing.
  • Inhaling contaminated air or tobacco smoke can expose the general public.
  • The air around manufacturing facilities for vinyl products contains the greatest concentrations of vinyl chloride in the environment.
  • When water is used for showering, cooking, or washing and the water is tainted, vinyl chloride can enter the air in the home.
Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector

How are Vinyl Chloride Detectors Used? 

Typically vinyl chloride detectors are used either to perform a spot check. This could be a factory floor or indoor space, to ensure the levels remain low and within exposure limits. Another use case, is for continuous monitoring on employees in a factory setting. If high levels of the gas are detected then the alarm will be triggered to take action.

Vinyl chloride detectors are important for humans in high risk spaces. Exposure to vinyl chloride gas can lead to behavioral or neurological issues, liver cancer, changes in the hand's skin and bones, and irreversible liver damage. Vinyl chloride detection can help people stay safe, avoid injuries and long term damage to their health. 


When the concentration of vinyl chloride gas is above 300-10,000 parts per billion by volume (ppb) the air will have a mild, sweet aroma (this is equivalent to 0.3 to 10ppm). Most individuals cannot smell vinyl chloride gas in concentrations below 300 ppb (0.3ppm).

How do You Test for Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride can be detected with a gas detection tube or electronic handheld gas detector.

Gas detector tubes contain chemicals inside that react with the gas that the tube is testing for. The air to be tested will be contained in the tube, and after a few minutes the chemical reaction takes place, changing the colors inside the tube and rising to the measured marks inside the tube. These measured marks denote the amount of gas in the tested air in parts per million. 

Using tubes is somewhat limit since it does not provide "live" continuous readings. Hence, digital handheld units in most instances provide more value and usefulness.

How Much Vinyl Chloride Gas is Dangerous? 

OSHA exposure limits on vinyl chloride is 1ppm over an 8 hour work period or 5ppm maximum over a 15 minute period. The ACGIH has the same recommendation of 1ppm.

In a interview, a USA leading researcher, Dr. Beier from the University of Pittsburg, said this about Vinyl Chloride:

  • At high concentrations, what you will feel is dizziness, irritation to the skin, eyes, mucous membrane, and so on and so forth,” she explained. “At lower concentrations, it gets a little more tricky because you don't see any immediate effects.
  • you inhale the gas, it can bind with your DNA, which ultimately can lead to cancer. This happens when the gas metabolizes in your liver into toxic metabolites, causing toxic effects.
  • It actually changes the cells ability to respire, to breathe. When we do experiments in the lab we actually see that the respiration rate of animals goes down,” Beier said.

What are the Vinyl Chloride Sensor Interference Gases?

Unfortunately, electrochemical sensors are not completely selective, and they respond to other gases present in the environment such as carbon monoxide, isobutylene, ethylene and acetylene.

The probable interferences that may be experienced when utilizing a vinyl chloride C2H3Cl Gas Detector is listed below. 

Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector

How Can I Calibrate a Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector?

Vinyl Chloride gas standards are not readily available for use as calibration gas, hence, most inexpensive and accessible carbon monoxide standards are typically used as a vinyl chloride electrochemical gas sensor responds 1:2 to carbon monoxide gas. This ratio may change slightly with different vinyl chloride sensor manufacturers. 

How Long Does a Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector Last?

Electronic vinyl chloride detectors are at the mercy of the electrochemical sensor technology thay they are made from. These sensors usually last from 2 to 3 years.

How Does a Vinyl Chloride Gas Detector Work?

Vinyl chloride gas detectors use a sensitive C2H3Cl sensor. The C2H3Cl gas gas molecules react with the sensor and change the output current which is then converted to a digital signal using a digital to analog converter. The detector has as small microprocessors that then maps this value to a calibration curve. Then the computer displays the the output to the user in a ppm concentration scale.

An example of the gas sensor element in the detector is shown below:


How Are Humans Exposed to Vinyl Chloride?

Humans are most frequently exposed to vinyl chloride through breathing contaminated air. When water is used for showering, cooking, or washing and the water is affected, vinyl chloride may be released into the air inside the home. Furthermore, a workplace with PVC manufacturing is also dangerous to factory workers.

Vinyl chloride is used to create plastic kitchenware, wire coatings, automobile upholstery, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. Vinyl chloride levels within new cars may be higher than usual due to the chemical's evaporation from newly manufactured vinyl items. Hence, employees working in manufacturing PVC product may require vinyl chloride gas detectors to track toxic level exposure.

Is Vinyl Toxic to Touch?

PVC (Vinyl) can be toxic to humans.

Although a product made entirely of PVC isn't inherently dangerous to people, it is also extremely hard and brittle and isn't of much use to anyone. When chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA) are added the result is a flexible plastic that industrial manufacturing companies likes to use to create a variety of goods.

The PVC life cycle is yet another factor to take into account. Dioxins are a chemical class that are released throughout the production process, as well as when PVC is burned or dumped after its useful life. Dioxin exposure can affect fertility and reproduction, harm the liver, and even affect a child's development.

Is Vinyl Chloride Harmful to Human Health?  


According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, if a human breathes air with vinyl chloride gas concentration above 25,000ppm, they may pass out. Vinyl chloride exposure is also linked to an increased risk of rare forms of cancer including liver cancer, brain and lung cancers, leukemia and lymphoma. 

Hence detecting C2H3Cl gas is extremely important.

Is Vinyl Chloride in Cigarettes? 

Yes it is.

Because vinyl chloride typically resides in a gaseous state, inhalation is the most likely route of exposure. Exposure to vinyl chloride can occur through tobacco smoke from cigarettes or cigars, whether you are smoking or simply exposed to second hand smoke. Vinyl chloride levels in tobacco smoke are not high and are usually somewhere between 5–30 nanograms per cigarette. 

What is Another Name for Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride is known by many synonyms & trade names. The chemical formula for vinyl chloride is C2H3Cl, and it may be referred to as Chloroethene, Chloroethylene, Ethylene monochloride, Monochloroethene, Monochloroethylene, VC, VCM, Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). 

Where Does Vinyl Chloride Come From? 

  • Vinyl chloride is created when chlorinated solvents are broken down by soil organisms. For example, the air around manufacturing facilities for vinyl products contains the greatest concentrations of vinyl chloride in the environment.
  • Vinyl chloride can make its way into the air and drinking water supplies when it is discharged by industry or created when other chlorinated chemicals break down.
  • Vinyl chloride is frequently found close to landfills. 

    What Happens if You Inhale PVC Fumes? 

    According to the CDC, dizziness, ataxia, intoxication, weariness, numbness and tingling in the extremities, visual abnormalities, coma, and death are among the signs and symptoms. Chronic exposure can result in behavioral or neurologic problems, liver cancer, alterations to the skin and bones of the hand, and permanent liver damage. Vinyl chloride's acute CNS effects are most likely brought about by the parent substance's interaction with neural membranes. Reactive intermediates seem to interact with macromolecules to produce additional effects.

    How Long Does Vinyl Off Gas? 

    Vinyl surfaces, such as vinyl flooring will off gas after they have been newly manufactured. This means that unstable vinyl chloride molecules enter the gas phase and mix in the air where they can be inhaled by humans.

    Vinyl flooring belongs to the group of goods and materials that give off smells long after the initial "new smell" has subsided. Furthermore, the smell of vinyl is so potent that even after all the volatile organic compounds have been released, other household surfaces frequently absorb the smell and then release it back into the space, creating a vicious cycle. In the first 3 to 5 weeks following the installation of the vinyl flooring, off-gassing is typically very bad. The duration of the odor, however, can vary depending on the ventilation, the location of the installation, and the quantity of chemicals released.

    Does PVC Release Chlorine Gas? 

    Yes it does.

    PVC production is one of the largest uses of chlorine in the United States. There are hundreds of chlorine based chemicals accumulating in the air, water, and food chain. These chemicals are known as organochlorines, and are resistant to decomposition and will last for many years in the environment. According to scientific research, these chemicals are connected to a host of serious and pervasive health issues, including cancer, immune system damage, delayed childhood development, infertility, hormone disruption, and many other negative outcomes. Organochlorines have a chemical structure that prevents people and animals from effectively eliminating them from their bodies. Instead, many of these substances build up in adipose tissue, where contamination levels can be hundreds or even millions of times higher than in the environment.

    Does PVC Release Vinyl Chloride? 


    The majority of the vinyl chloride produced in the US is used to create the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Plastic pipes, coatings for wire and cables, and packaging materials are all made out of PVC. Wall coverings, home furnishings, household goods, and automobile parts are some additional uses. Vinyl chloride was once very minimally added to water as it flowed through PVC pipes. The amount of vinyl chloride in food packaging materials is now regulated by the US government as it was previously possible for vinyl chloride to contaminate food stored in PVC-containing products. Vinyl chloride or PVC manufacturing plants typically expose their employees to higher levels of exposure than the general public. 

      Why is Vinyl Chloride Gas Hazardous?

      The respiratory system, eyes, and mucous membranes can all become irritated by vinyl chloride. Release of pressurized gas or liquid may result in frostbite or skin and eye pain. Chronic exposure may result in damage to the skin and bones of the hand, as well as neurologic or behavioral problems, liver cancer, and permanent liver damage.

      Is Polyvinyl Chloride Combustible?

      Yes it is. 

      Polyvinyl chloride burns when ignited. In a fire, it releases noxious or unpleasant fumes (or gases). Finely dispersed particles can create explosive airborne mixes to cause this. In order to avoid combustion, do not have open flames next to polyvinyl chloride. Utilize polyvinyl chloride in lighting and electrical equipment that is dust explosion-proof and closed-system. halt the accumulation of dust.

      Final Words

      Gas detection is crucial when dealing with vinyl chloride, a toxic gas that can accumulate to dangerous levels through off-gassing. Exposure to vinyl chloride can lead to severe side effects or even death, making reliable detection essential. Digital vinyl chloride gas detectors are now affordable and provide live, instantaneous readings, offering a significant advantage over traditional gas detection tubes, which are cost-effective but lack real-time monitoring capabilities. These detectors are vital tools for ensuring the safety of people working in PVC manufacturing and other environments where vinyl chloride exposure is a risk. By employing vinyl chloride gas detectors, industries can protect their workers from the hazardous effects of this gas and maintain a safe working environment.

        About the Author

        Dr. Kos Galatsis ("Dr.Koz") is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.

        gas detector expert

        Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and enjoying the outdoors

        Read more about Forensics Detectors here.

        Phone: +1 424-341-3886