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A Real Danger in Schools - PCBs


EMSL Analytical provides polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) testing solutions to keep building students and faculty safe.

Cinnaminson, NJ

Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement with several schools in New York for the assessment and remediation of PCB caulk in the school buildings. Several schools had been tested and found to have elevated PCB levels.

Almost one year ago the EPA had announced new guidance to communities on PCBs in caulk from buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1978. The EPA recommended testing for PCBs in peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk in buildings, especially in schools environments be conducted.

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 some caulks. These PCBs persist in old building materials and can contaminate surfaces, soils and the indoor air quality (IAQ).

According to the EPA, “Building owners and facility managers should also consider testing to determine if PCB levels in the air exceed EPA’s suggested public health levels.” The agency also reports that PCBs have been shown to cause cancer and numerous other serious health effects in animals. These include issues with the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system and other negative health effects.

EMSL Analytical, a leading provider of advanced environmental laboratory services, last year doubled instrument capacity for PCB analysis at their NELAC certified laboratory in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. “PCBs were banned in most products decades ago, but they don’t readily break down in our environment and still present a problem, especially in places with young children,” reported Joe Frasca, Executive Vice President at EMSL Analytical. “Schools need to be especially careful during renovations or removal of contaminated caulks.”

EMSL has been a leader in providing PCB testing solutions for years. Samples 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) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 Schools Danger PCBs
 USEPA caulk soils
 building materials IAQ
 cancer health effects
 NELAC public health

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