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California Schools Listen as EPA Tells them to Test Caulk for PCBs


LA Testing provides PCB analyses to area school districts after EPA warns of PCB dangers in caulk.

Pasadena, CA, October 5th, 2009

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that hundreds of schools may have cancer-causing PCBs in caulk around windows and doors. The announcement came in conjunction with new guidance to communities on PCBs in caulk from buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1978.

The EPA now recommends testing for PCBs in peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk in buildings, especially in schools environments from the 30 year time period. According to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, “We’re concerned about potential risks associated with exposure to these PCBs, and we’re recommending practical, common sense steps to reduce this exposure as we improve our understanding of the science.”

Production of PCBs in the United States was halted in the late 1970s, but prior to then it was used in some electronics and building materials, including caulks. These PCBs persist in old building materials and can contaminate surfaces, soils and the indoor air quality (IAQ). According to the EPA, PCBs have been shown to cause cancer and numerous other serious health effects including issues with the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

LA Testing, an affiliate of EMSL Analytical and a leading provider of advanced environmental laboratory services, has several laboratories throughout California that have been busy providing PCB analysis for school districts and institutions across the state. “PCBs have been banned for 30 years but they are still present in many of our schools,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical. “Children are more sensitive to dangerous chemical contaminants and it’s important for California schools to take this issue seriously.”

PCB samples at LA Testing are analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) equipped with dual electron capture detectors (ECD) following EPA methodologies. To learn more about PCB testing in caulk and other materials please visit, email or call 800-755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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