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Release Date: 9/29/1999
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, 415-744-1588

      SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has fined the University of Hawaii $116,100 for using PCB transformers without proper safety controls at 13 locations on the Manoa campus in Honolulu.  

     "PCBs are a highly toxic substance," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's regional Cross-Media Division director.  "Owners of PCB transformers need to properly handle this hazardous chemical. The public's health and the health of our environment depend on it."

     PCBs are man-made substances that were banned for production in the United States in 1978.  The EPA has identified PCBs as probable human carcinogens.  PCBs have also been shown to cause a number of serious noncancer health effects in animals, including effects on the immune, reproductive, endocrine and nervous systems.

     The EPA initiated this case in 1992 after an inspection of the Manoa campus identified missing safety controls. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act requires such safety controls when using certain types of PCB transformers in order to minimize the potential for transformer ruptures that can produce fires and PCB spills. The University of Hawaii removed and properly disposed of all PCBs on the campus by 1994.

     Federal regulations implemented in 1998 require that owners register or dispose of PCB transformers. Hawaii is one of only two states where no PCB transformers have been registered with the EPA.
     Information about registering PCB transformers is available from the EPA Web site at . For updates about federal PCB activities that affect Hawaii, subscribe to the EPA's free newsletter at .

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