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Episode 03, Part 1: The House of Documents

Listen to the first installment of our two-part exploration into polyvinyl chloride on Trace Material: Stories from the Plastics Age.

In the 1970s, workers in PVC factories across the country began getting sick with a rare form of liver cancer.

While the plastics industry claimed they were unaware of what was causing that cancer, internal documents later showed they knew that vinyl chloride was toxic to workers for years. There was a global effort by chemical companies to conceal this fact.

Historian Gerald Markowitz and lawyer Billy Baggett Jr. take us through the process of uncovering this deadly story.

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Check out a gallery of images from the episode below:

Click here for a full transcript of the episode.

Trace Material is a project of Parsons Healthy Materials Lab at The New School. It is hosted and produced by Ava Robinson and Burgess Brown. Our project director is Alison Mears, and our research assistant is Olivia Hamilton. Trace Material was made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our theme music is Rainbow Road by Cardioid. Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions.

Contributors:
Gerald Markowitz, author of Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution;
Billy Baggett Jr., personal injury lawyer;
Dr. Sarah Evans, Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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