Should You Be Concerned About PCBs?

Posted: August 30, 2011

YES if you are you renovating a building that was built between 1950 and 1978!

Buildings built in this time period should be tested for the presence of PCBs in building caulk. In addition to PCBs in caulk, PCBs can be found in paints (along with lead), transformers, ballasts and floor finishes.

Danger PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls)PCBs are found in high levels in building caulking material. The PCBs can migrate from the caulking material to the air, dust and soil and create significant exposure concerns to building occupants. Exposures during renovation activities (such as window replacement) can be particularly acute. Exposure to PCBs can affect the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system. In humans, PCBs are cancer-causing.

Caulk that is peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating can release PCBs to the surrounding environment and exposebuilding occupants. Caulk that is disturbed as a part of a building renovation or demolition can exposeconstruction workers and building occupants.

For more information on PCBs, click here!

KEM can test your building for PCBs and determine if there are any exposure concerns that exist. As with asbestos and lead paint, KEM recommends testing for PCBs prior to any renovation activities that might disturb PCB-containing materials.