CHGT hosts free screening of 'Blue Vinyl: The World's First Toxic Comedy'

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Beyond Plastics and Heights Libraries, invites the community to an April 11 screening of “Blue Vinyl” (2002), a documentary film that explores the environmental impact of vinyl manufacturing. “Blue Vinyl” won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance, and is an Emmy-award-winning documentary film.

The free screening, followed by a brief Q-and-A, will take place on Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m., at Heights Libraries Lee Road Branch. An RSVP is recommended, to ensure a sufficient number of seats are available.

In “Blue Vinyl”—with humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand—Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl-manufacturing capital and beyond, in search of the truth about vinyl.

They found that the vinyl chloride typically used in many materials comes with alarming environmental, health, and environmental justice impacts. PVC plastic made from vinyl chloride is used to manufacture everything from the iconic rubber ducky and other children's toys to pipes, floor coverings, shower curtains, raincoats, and vinyl siding. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives to PVC. 

Though released 22 years ago, “Blue Vinyl” remains relevant today; vinyl chloride persists in American products, threatening the health of consumers, the communities surrounding PVC production facilities, and those living along railways that transport the dangerous chemical. Three train cars carrying vinyl chloride were among those that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3, 2023.

The film underscores the theme of Earth Day 2024, Planet vs. Plastics, and reaffirms the urgent need to reduce global plastic pollution and ensure a more sustainable future.

Click here to view the documentary's trailer.

For more information visit

Catalina Wagers

Catalina Wagers is a resident of Cleveland Heights' Fairfax neighborhood. She supports causes and programs focused on the advancement of NEO through better access to education, policy advocacy, and environmental protection, and is co-founder of Cleveland Heights Green Team.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 2:53 PM, 04.06.2024