frequently asked questions

What does one part per million mean scientifically?

Scientists use parts per million (ppm) to measure the presence of chemicals in the environment at low concentrations.  When a chemical is present at one part per million, it accounts for 1/1,000,000th of a measured sample of air, water, or soil.

Why needlepoint?

I've chosen needlepoint as the medium for this project because I believe that in a world that is increasingly automated and digital, handcraft offers a unique space for contemplation and community. As an artist, I turn to methodical practices like needlepoint, embroidery, and hand-drawn animation to relieve stress and solve complex problems. I also love the imperfection and "human-ness" of an art form like needlepoint, which stands in direct contrast to the perfect replication made possible by plastics. 

I don't live anywhere near a vinyl chloride plant. How does this affect me?

Although fenceline neighbors and workers in the vinyl chloride industry are disproportionately affected by vinyl chloride exposure, the ubiquity of PVC products in everyday products and buildings places us all at risk. New PVC products off-gas unpolymerized vinyl chloride gas, which can become trapped in the interiors of new cars and buildings and inhaled by inhabitants. 70% of all PVC is used in construction materials such as siding, pipes, and imitation-wood floors. In the event of a fire, vinyl chloride gas is released from these products at catastrophic concentrations of 8,000 ppm.

On a broader scale, a baby born today will come into the world with over 200 synthetic chemicals already in their blood. Vinyl chloride is one of a handful of chemicals that have been proven a human health hazard, but it is one of over 85,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today. Little research has been done to study the interactions between the thousands of these chemicals we are routinely exposed to, so the true public health impact of our chemically-subsidized lifestyle remains largely unknown. While it is virtually impossible to avoid synthetic chemicals altogether, we do all have the power to advocate for a safer world for ourselves, our families, and our fellow humans. This can be done by choosing to use sustainable materials whenever possible, by volunteering with a non-profit committed to ending toxic chemical pollution…or even by picking up a needle and thread.