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Agreement Lacking Between Teachers’ Union and School Administrators Over Testing for PCBs

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides information and testing services to identify polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in schools and other buildings.

Boston, MA – WEBWIRE

In February, Worcester Magazine published a story about the breakdown in talks between an educational association and its administrators from the public schools over plans for new polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) tests at two area high schools. According to the article, the teacher’s union was involved with a program that tested window caulking for PCBs at the two schools in question back in 2010. The educational association claims “extremely elevated levels” were found in both high schools.

PCBs were used as an additive in some caulks in the past due to their water and chemical resistance, durability and elasticity. These caulks were used in some homes and buildings, primarily between 1950 and 1980. The chemical compounds were also used in other building materials such as paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives, specialty coatings and fluorescent light ballasts. These PCBs can persist in old materials and contaminate surfaces, dust, soil and the indoor air quality (IAQ) of the structure.

Back in 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided new guidance for school administrators and building managers with information about managing PCBs in caulk. According to the EPA, 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 health issues.

“Exposure to PCBs in schools and other buildings can occur by directly touching PC-containing caulk and any surrounding materials, hand to mouth contact, and breathing in air or dust contaminated with it,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Testing for PCBs in peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk in buildings, especially in schools environments, is recommended by the EPA.”

Helping to identify PCB exposure risks are the indoor scientists at EMSL Analytical, Inc. EMSL provides advanced testing services and all of the sample collection supplies necessary. These services help to determine if PCBs are present in caulk, other building materials, and the indoor environment of all types of buildings. 

To learn more about PCB testing in caulk, air, dust or other materials, please visit or, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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