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Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Building Materials

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PCBs in Caulk Hotline

For additional information call
1-888-835-5372

Highlights
Important Resources

Page Contents

Overview

EPA believes that there was potential widespread use of PCB-containing building materials in schools and other buildings built or renovated between about 1950 and 1979. On this page, EPA is providing updated guidance for school administrators and building owners with information about managing PCBs in building materials to help minimize possible exposures to building occupants.

Information on PCBs in Buildings Materials for School Administrators and Building Owners and Managers

Factsheet: Practical Actions for Reducing Exposure to PCBs in Schools and Other Buildings: Guidance for School Administrators and Other Buildings Owners and Managers (PDF) (4 pp, 504 K) - This factsheet provides concise information on how to manage and reduce exposures to PCBs in building materials.

PCBs in Building Materials: Questions and Answers (PDF) (18 pp, 440 K) - This questions and answers document is meant to help school administrators, building owners, managers and occupants better understand the types of building materials that may contain PCBs, the potential for building occupant exposure to PCBs, and how exposure to PCBs can be assessed and reduced.

PCBs in Building Materials Diagram - This diagram compliments the document PCBs in Building Materials: Questions and Answers on how exposure to PCBs can be assessed and reduced in school buildings.

PCB-Containing FLBs in School Buildings: A Guide for School Administrators and Maintenance Personnel - This page provides information to school administrators and maintenance personnel on the hazards posed by PCB-containing FLBs, how to properly handle and dispose of these items, and how to properly retrofit the lighting fixtures in your school to remove potential PCB hazards.

Exposure Levels for Evaluating PCBs in Indoor School Air - The PCBs in air levels were developed to maintain total PCB exposure below the oral reference dose (RfD) of 20 ng PCB/kg body weight per day. The RfD is an estimate of a daily oral exposure to the human population (including sensitive subgroups) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of harmful effects during a lifetime.

Information for Contractors Working in Buildings that May Contain PCBs

Steps to Safe Renovation and Abatement of Buildings that Have PCB-Containing Caulk This information is designed to assist building owners and abatement contractors who may be handling PCB-containing or PCB-contaminated building materials during planned renovation or repair activities or planned PCB abatement efforts in older buildings.

Test Methods for PCBs in Buildings

Test Methods for Determining the Presence of PCBs in Indoor Air

EPA has the following two approved methods for determining the presence of PCBs in indoor air:

Many old lighting systems contain ballasts manufactured with PCBs. These PCBs can get into the air if the ballast fails or ruptures. Replacement of old lighting systems with new, energy efficient systems will eliminate a potential source of PCBs.

Test Methods for Determining the Presence of PCBs in Buildings Materials

EPA recommends that building materials suspected to contain PCBs be tested directly for the presence of PCBs and removed if renovations are planned in the building. The PCB regulations provide appropriate methods for testing. More information on these procedures can be found at:

EPA Research of PCBs in Buildings

EPA conducted research to address several unresolved scientific questions that must be better understood to assess the magnitude of the problem of PCBs in school buildings and identify the best long-term solutions. For example, the link between the concentrations of PCBs in building materials and PCBs in the air or dust is not well understood. The results of this research will be used to provide further guidance to schools and building owners as they develop and implement long-term solutions. Read moreto address several unresolved scientific questions that must be better understood to assess the magnitude of the problem of PCBs in school buildings and identify the best long-term solutions. For example, the link between the concentrations of PCBs in building materials and PCBs in the air or dust is not well understood. The results of this research will be used to provide further guidance to schools and building owners as they develop and implement long-term solutions. Read more

Where Can I Get More Information?

For more information on how to properly test for and address PCBs in caulk, call the EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Hotline at 1-888-835-5372 or contact the EPA PCB Regional Coordinator for your state.

 

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