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Environmental fate & pathways

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Various biodegradation tests were performed with vinyl chloride. Although vinyl chloride was not found ready biodegradable under the rigid test conditions of the MITI test (16% after 28 days) or the test from the U.S. EPA (1977) as described in ATSDR (2006) in which the BOD of raw sewage seed was compared with BOD of raw sewage seed with vinyl chloride (no biodegradation observed), more recent data (summarised in section 5.2.3) demonstrated that vinyl chloride degrades well under specific conditions. In ground water, vinyl chloride degraded for almost 100% after 108 days under aerobic conditions (Davis and Carpenter, 1990). In anaerobic microcosms with methanogenic bed sediments, 98% biodegradation was found after 70 days. Degradation products were carbon dioxide, methane, ethane and ethene (Bradley, 1999). Furthermore, under aerobic conditions vinyl chloride degraded completely in two short term tests using adapted inoculum (Hartman 1985; Fogel 1986). Taken these studies into account, vinyl chloride is regarded biodegradable under specific environmental conditions.