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PCB Hazards Still Exist in Some Older Buildings and Materials

The building science professionals at Clark Seif Clark (CSC) provide testing solutions for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in buildings.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

Even decades after PCBs are no longer being manufactured, they still persist and can potentially pose a health concern for building occupants.

Polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, are man-made toxic chemicals that are no longer produced in the United States.  Their use was discontinued in 1979 because the chemicals persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate in humans and animals.  Their chemical structure allows them to remain for long periods of time cycling between air, water and soil. Exposure to PCBs has been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.
Although PCBs are no longer commercially produced in the United States, they may still be present in products and building materials produced before the ban went into effect. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, “Due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point, and electrical insulating properties, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment; as plasticizers in paints, plastics, and rubber products; in pigments, dyes, and carbonless copy paper; and many other industrial applications.”
In 2009, the EPA released new guidance regarding PCBs in caulk from buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1978.  The EPA recommends testing for PCBs in peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk in buildings, especially in school environments.
“Even decades after PCBs are no longer being manufactured, they still persist and can potentially pose a health concern for building occupants,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark.  “At CSC, our indoor environmental quality professionals are regularly called upon to test joint compounds, window putty and other materials for these chemicals.  Testing can help to determine if they are present and may pose an exposure risk for building occupants.”
To learn more about PCB testing services or other environmental, health and safety issues, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address environmental, IAQ, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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