In case you missed it, the 8th Annual PCB Workshop was held this past October in the USA – Woods Hole, MA. to be exact.  This conference moves its’ location from year to year.  A primary objective of this conference was to provide guidelines for risk assessment and risk management for PCBs and related compounds as mixtures found in the human environment, especially in school buildings. A second major objective was to present the very latest findings relating to the chemistry, biology, and toxicology of PCBs.

Sessions included:

·         Analytical Methods
·         Mechanisms of Toxicity
·         PCBs in Building Materials
·         Airborne PCBs movement
·         Human Exposure Assessment & Epidemiology
·         Regulatory Policy

Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is with PCBs. You may be saying to yourself – “Wasn’t PCB production and use banned in the US in the late 1970’s?”  You are correct, but unintentional formation of PCBs is ongoing and the PCBs already in place still exist – much like asbestos in building materials that still exist. It is these sources of PCBs that still need to be remediated and controlled as they are found.

Although the presence of PCBs is mostly associated with electrical equipment – primarily transformers – there are significant amount of PCBs that could be found in buildings constructed from the 1950s through the 1970s.  You may not realize it but some of the potential building materials that may contain PCBs include:

·         Caulk and other exterior sealants
·         Paints
·         Fluorescent Light ballasts
·         Flooring tiles
·         Ceiling tiles
·         Insulation
·         Waterproof coatings

In addition to the above sources of the past usage of PCBs, there are some processes that actually create PCBs as an unwanted byproduct – such as certain dye, ink, and pigment manufacturing processes.

The bottom line is, even though PCBs are no longer being utilized intentionally, there is a significant amount of potential PCB exposure out there.  Exposure to PCBs is a major health concern due to their classification as known human carcinogens (IARC, Group 1, 2012/2013), and for other health negative issues, including effects to the immune, endocrine (e.g. thyroid function), and reproductive systems. Some studies also suggest concerns relating to neurological development.

If you suspect or know you have a PCB issue, we at Galson Laboratories, an SGS Company, can help. Galson Laboratories has seen a recent increase in analytical requests for PCB analysis. In response to this increase in requests, we have recently added another instrument solely for the purpose of analyzing PCBs. Galson is an AIHA ISO 17025 accredited laboratory for PCB analysis – following NOSH Method 5503   for airborne particulate or vapor PCBs and wipe samples.

If you have questions/concerns about possible lead exposure than feel free to contact us at 1-888-432-5227 or utilize our online chat feature and speak with a knowledgeable client service representative.

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