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Schools Receive Updated Guidance Regarding PCB-Containing Lighting Fixtures

EMSL Analytical provides polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) testing services to identify its presence in schools and other buildings.


Cinnaminson, NJ, February 12th, 2014


Late last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published updated guidance for schools with PCB-containing lighting fixtures.  Up until 1979, PCBs were commonly used as an insulator in fluorescent light ballasts. That year, the EPA banned the processing or use of PCBs, except in totally enclosed equipment. Today, a number of these ballasts that were installed prior to the ban or that were stored and used after its use was phased out, may contain PCBs and may still be in use in some schools and other buildings.


In the EPA’s December news release, the agency states that in just New York and New Jersey alone, there have been 150 incidents of leaking or smoking ballasts in schools that have been reported to the EPA in the previous 15 months.  EPA states, “The most likely way that people are exposed to PCBs from the ballasts is through breathing PCB-contaminated air or, if the ballast ruptures, by touching PCB-contaminated materials. When they remain in place, leaking ballasts can continue to release PCBs over several years and create elevated levels of PCBs in the air that students, teachers and other school workers breathe. The EPA recommends removing PCB-containing ballasts from buildings as soon as possible to prevent exposure.”


Polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, are man-made chemicals that persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate in living organisms.  Studies have shown that PCBs cause cancer in animals and have non-cancer effects on the immune system, reproductive system and endocrine system.


“In addition to their use in fluorescent light ballasts, PCBs were used in countless industrial and commercial applications in the past,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL’s NELAC Accredited Environmental Chemistry Laboratory offers testing services to identify the presence of PCBs in air, caulk, paint chips, wipes, concrete samples and other materials.”


EMSL has released an online video about PCB testing services that can be seen at:


To learn more about PCB testing services, please visit or, call (800) 220-3675 or email .


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

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


 polychlorindated biphenyl

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