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Materials in California Homes and Buildings May Still Contain PCBs

LA Testing provides analytical services to identify polychlorinated biphenyls and other hazardous substances from building materials and environmental samples.


Huntington Beach, CA – WEBWIRE

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until manufacturing was banned in 1979. The ban was implemented due to environmental and human health concerns.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that although no longer commercially produced in this country, PCBs may be present in products and materials produced before their ban. The agency is concerned that there was potential widespread use of PCB-containing building materials in schools and other buildings constructed or renovated between about 1950 and 1979.

The EPA has provided information about PCBs in building materials based on research results examining PCBs in school buildings. These same concerns also apply to other buildings and include the following:

  • Caulk 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.
  • 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.
  • Some building materials (e.g., paint and masonry walls) and 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.

“As recommended by the EPA, building materials suspected of containing PCBs should be tested directly for their presence and be properly removed if renovations are planned in a building,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Just last year, new demolition permitting regulations began in numerous counties around San Francisco Bay aimed at preventing run-off contamination caused by PCB-containing materials and debris during demolition activities.”

To help identify these hazards for building occupants as well as demolition and construction companies, LA Testing offers material, environmental and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) testing services and sampling supplies for PCBs and many other hazardous substances. The PCB testing experts at LA Testing also recently sponsored an educational video about PCBs in building materials that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/o-e5o86u0mk.

To learn more about PCB testing of building materials and environmental samples, please visit www.LATesting.com, email  info@LATesting.com  or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.


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 Pcbs
 Polychlorinated Biphenyls
 Man-made Chemical
 Caulk
 Demolition Permitting


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