PCB Caulk Prompts Lawsuits and EPA Action


An outdated ecological ghost has just been reincarnated. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) given a lot of loopholes in the 1970 s when researchers unearthed that the PCBs popular as insulators in electrical equipment (especially transformers that leaked the substance into dirt and water supplies), weren’t only carcinogenic, but additionally that PCB contamination tended to collect and eventually become entangled from the organic environment, finding its way into the human water and food source. Currently, the exact same specter is haunting the halls of the kids’ schools as well as other buildings that were constructed or renovated from the 1950s to the late 1970s, in the form of deteriorating, PCB-laden caulk manufactured during that period of time, prompting the EPA along with other organizations to advocate testingand precautionary measures, along with abatement protocols. Inch

Caulk is actually a flexible material most often utilized to seal cracks in some construction materials and gaps where building materials fit, such as those around door and window frames. pcb manufacturing usa , a fatty substancethat have been inserted to caulk and industrial paints to boost flexibility in those substances. Aging caulk tends to harden, becoming friable or brittle and crumbling into particles which is often found on window sills, accumulate on floors, or find their way into venting systems. Back in 1976, Congress banned the manufacture and use of PCBs because of concern about their overall health and environmental effects and these certainly were eliminated with the exception of certain limited uses in 1978. Two

Since 2008, elevated amounts of PCBs are discovered in caulk in over 30 Brooklyn, NY, schools that were being renovated. Some of the NY schools reportedly contained quantities of PCBs significantly more than 6,000 times the concentration deemed by the EPA to present an”unreasonable risk of harm” to students.3 Studies performed as the 1970s have found that PCBs aren’t just carcinogens, but can impair several human body processes, including the reproductivesystem, immune, endocrine and central nervous systems.

Administrators of potentially influenced buildings who fail to take appropriate actions can face liability.

In September, 2009, the EPA recommended analyzing for buildings that are affected and announced new guidance for faculty administrators and construction managers, including advice to aid with direction of their hazard and minimizing possible exposure. Industrial production of PCBs ceased in 1978, and the EPA tips advocate, but don’t yet require, all schools along with other buildings that were constructed between 1950 and 1978 to receive testing.

But while the manufacture of caulk containing PCBs didn’t become conventional practice until the 1950s and was prohibited in 1978, it’s likely that caulk containing PCBs forced its way to construction projects for a time period before and after those experiences. Some organizations advocate analyzing of buildings renovated or constructed since the 1930s and as late as 1980. 4

In the meantime, the bureau has advocated all schools assembled in the at-risk era to take provisional steps as precautionary measures until it can be done to see from analyzing whether the construction is polluted by PCBs. Those measures include:

-Enhance ventilation, including opening windows and installing or using fans where potential.

-Clean frequently to reduce residue and dust inside buildings.

-Utilize a wet or damp cloth or wash to wash surfaces.

-Utilize vacuums using highefficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

-Don’t sweep with dry brooms; minimize using dusters.

-Wash children’s hands with soap and water often, especially before eating.

-Wash children’s toys often.


The EPA can be offering advice about diagnosis of issues and any necessary testing and removal plans. A factsheet 6 and a Q&A 7 will be accessible on the EPA site. The bureau intends to take additional research to seemingly unexplained other mechanisms where PCBs found in caulk have been leaching or leaking to the air and soil in and around polluted school and other buildings.

Faculties as well as other buildings that might be affected should take action to acquire testing, and may immediately implement the EPA’s recommendations for managerial security precautions, as summarized above. When a building is found to be infected with potentially dangerous quantities of PCBs in caulk, then the caulk must be removed using approved abatement and removal procedures, designed to minimize human contact with the substance or intrusion of this chemical to ventilation, water supplies, or dirt throughout removal.

PCB Caulk Prompt Lawsuits against Schools and Proactive Approach from EPA

By Guy Holt

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