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Residents of Puerto Rico Advised of the Potential for PCBs to be Lurking in Some Older Buildings

Zimmetry Environmental provides testing and consulting services to identify and mitigate exposure risks to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from caulk and other materials found in some buildings.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

In the past, these toxic chemical compounds were also used in other building materials, including some paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives and specialty coatings.

Many residents of Puerto Rico are well aware of the fact that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can bioaccumulate in humans and that exposure to these man-made chemicals has been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. Far fewer likely realize they could be exposed to these hazardous chemicals in some buildings across the islands.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), caulking materials put in place between 1950 and 1979 may contain as much as 40% PCBs and can emit them into the surrounding air. PCBs from caulk may also contaminate adjacent materials such as masonry or wood. The agency also states that some building materials, such as paint and masonry walls, along with indoor dust, can absorb PCB emissions and become potential secondary sources for PCBs. When the primary PCB-emitting sources are removed, the secondary sources often emit PCBs. These PCBs can persist and contaminate surfaces, dust, soils and the indoor air quality (IAQ) of a structure. 
In addition, the EPA warns that fluorescent lighting fixtures that still contain their original PCB-containing light ballasts have exceeded their designed lifespan, and the chance for rupture and emitting PCBs is significant. Sudden rupture of PCB-containing light ballasts may result in exposure to building occupants. 
“In the past, these toxic chemical compounds were also used in other building materials, including some paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives and specialty coatings,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Although PCBs are no longer commercially produced in the United States, they can be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 PCB ban. Exposure concerns are even more of an issue if buildings containing these materials are renovated, remodeled or demolished without the proper health and safety precautions in place.”
In Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean, Zimmetry Environmental’s building science and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) professionals provide PCB testing services for caulking, joint compounds, window putty and other materials that may contain these chemical compounds. They also provide oversight functions if these materials are to be disturbed or removed during construction or demolition activities to protect workers and building occupants.    
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their PCB, indoor air quality, environmental and compliance consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Industrial Hygiene

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