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Healthy School Environments

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Why It's Important
  • PCBs are a type of chemical that were used in caulk, electronics, fluorescent light ballasts and other building materials from the 1950s to the late 1970s, until Congress banned their use in 1976. Schools built during this time may contain PCBs.
  • Degrading light ballasts or caulk containing PCBs increase the risk of leaks or even fires, which would pose a health and environmental hazard.
  • Health concerns related to PCB exposure include, but are not limited to, cancer and reproductive or neurological effects.
What You Can Do
  • Replace old lighting systems manufactured with PCBs with energy-efficient systems.
  • Reduce the potential for PCBs in indoor air by maintaining a proper ventilation system.
  • Until it can be safely removed, limit exposure to caulk containing PCBs by:
    • Keeping children from touching caulk or surfaces near it
    • Washing children's toys often, and washing their hands with soap and water before eating
    • Using wet cloths to clean surfaces and cleaning frequently to reduce dust
  • Call EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Hotline at (888) 835-5372 to learn more about PCBs in caulk and to get information on PCB professionals in your area.
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