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EPA Inspection for PCB-containing lighting ballasts PS 306 in Brooklyn, New York

More Information

EPA's PCBs homepage.

Guidance on PCB-Containing Fluorescent Light Ballasts

Twenty-five of Thirty-one Samples Above Regulatory Limit
Several Samples from One Room at or Near 100% PCBs

On Saturday, February 19, 2011, EPA conducted an inspection at PS 306 to look at lighting ballasts that may contain PCBs and determine if they have leaked in the past or are currently leaking. See below for a chart containing the results of samples taken during this inspection.

If a lighting ballast is leaking PCBs above a regulatory level of 50 parts per million, it is considered an exceedance and federal law requires the immediate removal and disposal of the ballast and disposal of any PCB-contaminated materials at an EPA-approved facility.

A total of thirty-one samples were taken from ten classrooms. Twenty-five samples taken showed results above the regulatory limit. All ten classrooms had at least one sample that showed results above the regulatory limit.

These recommendations are consistent with EPA’s national guidance recommending that schools take steps to reduce potential exposures to PCBs from older fluorescent lighting fixtures.

PS 306 Brooklyn
February 19, 2011 Sampling Results

Location

Fixture No.

Sample location

Sample Results  mg/kg (PPM)

PCB Aroclor

Old/New Ballast

Ballast leaking

Description of Material

Room   108

2

Tray

1,300

1248

New

No

Brown Waxy Oil

Room   109

2

Ballast

4,300

1260

Old

Yes

Oily Wires/Hard Tar Bubble on Ballast

Room   107

1

Ballast

1,200,000***

1242

Old

Yes

Active Leak

Room    107

1

Tray

1,100,000***

1242

Old

Yes

Oil Pool

Room   107

1

Diffuser

950,000

1248

Old

Yes

Oil Stains

Room   107

N/A

Desk

X**

N/A

N/A

Yellow Stains

Room     102

1

Ballast

500
450

1242
1260

Old

Yes

Oil Seep From Seam/Oily Wires

Room    102

1

Diffuser

480

1242

Old

Yes

Oil Smear

Room    204

N/A

Chair

X**

N/A

N/A

Brown Oily Stain

Room    204

N/A

Chair

X**

N/A

N/A

Brown Oily Stain

Room    204

N/A

Chair

X**

N/A

N/A

Brown Oily Stain

Room     204

1

Tray

48,000

1242

New

No

Five Tar Globules

Room    204

1

Diffuser

55,000
12,000

1248
1260

New

No

Oil Stain

Room    240

1

Ballast

3,900

1260

Old

Yes

Oily Wires/Oily Residue on Ballast

Room   240

1

Diffuser

21,000

1268

Old

Yes

Oil Stain

Room   240

2

Diffuser

18,000

1268

New

No

Oil Stain

Room   240

N/A

Chair

X**

N/A

N/A

Oil Splatter Stain

Room
241

1

Wires

260,000

1248

New

No

Oily Wires

Room
241

1

Tray

320,000

1248

New

No

Dried Oil

Room
241

1

Diffuser

600,000

1268

New

No

Oil Stain

Room
241

2

Ballast

U*

Old

Yes

Oily Residue

Room
241

2

Diffuser

4,700
9,100

1260
1268

Old

Yes

Oil Stain

Room
309

1

Ballast
Housing

2,200
240

1248
1268

New

No

Dried Tar

Room
309

1

Tray

200,000
5,500

1248
1268

New

No

Oily Globules

Room
309

1

Diffuser

33,000

1268

New

No

Oil Stain

U* = Non detect

X**= Several pieces of furniture with stains were observed in classrooms with lighting fixtures that had visible stains on the outside.  EPA collected wipe samples from the surface of the furniture.  Due to the small sample size, the EPA laboratory was unable to obtain conclusive results at the 50 ppm regulatory limit.

*** = Due to the way that samples are analyzed, it is possible to come up with a level that shows a result above 100%.  This is within the expected analytical variance of this procedure.  Therefore we consider the sample to be pure 100% PCBs.

 

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