A change to the DVD version of the documentary film Blue Vinyl has stirred both proponents and opponents of PVC.
The film, which was first screened in 2002 at the Sundance film festival, detailed co-director Judith Helfand's struggles with her parents to remove the blue vinyl siding from their house. Throughout the film, she and co-creator Dan Gold argue that vinyl is dangerous, bringing up charges from the 1970s like the industry's admission that employees got liver cancer from exposure to vinyl chloride monomer, and exploring new topics, including alleged links between brain cancer and VCM.
The newest point of contention deals with a portion of the film that was removed from the DVD version: a segment when Lori Sanzone, who worked at a PVC pipe manufacturing plant for seven days, said she contracted angiosarcoma of the liver on the job.
That is, until she found that she did not have ASL. In 2004, doctors changed Sanzone's diagnosis and instead said she had epithelioid hemangioendothelioma.
Consequently, Helfand and Gold re-edited their film for DVD release, removing Sanzone and extending scenes with Dr. Paul Brandt-Rauf of Columbia University, offering clinical evidence against vinyl chloride.
Vinyl supporters say that's proof of a point they made all along, that the movie was shaky on facts.
``We wish Ms. Sanzone good health, but wonder how the producers can continue to peddle a movie whose basic premises have been so undermined,'' said Tim Burns, president of the Arlington, Va.-based Vinyl Institute, in a statement.
But the Healthy Building Network, a Washington-based group that has been critical of PVC, said the changes do not water down the movie's point.
``It's more doctor-time on screen. It doesn't undercut the thesis at all,'' said HBN spokeswoman Margie Kelly.
Gold and Sanzone were not available for comment, but they addressed Sanzone's inclusion in the original film in an interview with HBN.
Gold said: ``[Sanzone] didn't `claim' to have ASL. Doctors diagnosed her with ASL and asked her when she had been exposed to vinyl chloride. Independent experts affirmed the diagnosis for us.''
Helfand added: ``Two years after the [initial] broadcast, her diagnosis changed. Good for her.''
VI also took issue with the film's presentation of a criminal case against Italian vinyl industry officials. The institute deemed it misleading that the movie acknowledged that the case had been thrown out only in a word slide at the end.
Kelly pointed out that these same Italian officials settled during the civil suit.
Allen Blakey, VI public affairs director, said the civil case was erroneous. ``Sometimes companies pay settlements because they think it is the best thing to do.''