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Questions Answered by Darrell Maclean of SMI on PCB Cancer Risks and PCB Remediation.
Because of the high incidence of questions raised regarding last weeks blog on PCBs, Darrell Maclean of SMI’s will this week provide answers to a number of your PCB questions.
Question: What Are PCBs And How Are They Regulated?
Answer: PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a group of chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were commonly used in hundreds of products and processes from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. EPA banned the use of PCBs in 1979, and their safe removal and disposal is now regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act to ensure minimal exposure to workers and occupants of buildings that may contain them. They are regulated under Code of Federal Register, reference: 40 CFR part 761. http://www.epa.gov/
Question: What Are The Health Risks Associated With PCBs?
Answer: PCBs are known to cause cancer after long exposure. They are also associated with a variety of other health conditions related to the immune system, the reproductive system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Further information on the medical dangers of PCBs can be found at the EPA websites. http://www.epa.gov/
Question: What are acceptable levels of PCBs?
Answer: The answer varies by the source of the contamination, whether soil, surfaces, oil, water or air, but OSHA suggests a time-weighted average exposure of no more than 1mg/m3 or 0.07ppm, is acceptable over a normal 8 hour day, 40 hour week. Caulk containing PCB > 50ppm is considered PCB bulk product waste and must be disposed of according to the regulations. This limit applies to all building materials in which the PCB containing caulk may have come into contact with during its application, and is known as PCB remediation waste.
Question: What Are The Disposal Options for PCB Waste?
Answer: PCB Bulk Product Waste can be disposed of three different ways:
1. Performance Based Disposal (does not require EPA approval): this includes, TSCA incineration, TSCA chemical waste disposal, RCSA hazardous waste landfill, or a facility coordinated by the TSCA.
2. Disposal in Solid Waste Landfills (this requires EPA approval).
3. Risk-Based Option: this is an alternative method which the EPA must first approve.
PCB Remediation Waste also has 3 options for disposal:
1. Self-implementing clean up and disposal: this depends on the occupancy rates of the area and building and requires EPA approval
2. Performance Based Disposal:(does not require EPA approval): this includes, TSCA incineration, TSCA chemical waste disposal, or a facility coordinated by the TSCA.
3. Risk Based Clean up and Disposal: is an alternative method which the EPA must first approve.
Question: What Type Of Protective Clothing Is Recommended For PCB Remediation Activities?
Answer: PCBs are dangerous, cancer causing agents. Darrell Maclean explained, “The recommendation is to avoid skin or eye contact with PCBs. If you might come in contact with PCBs, wear gloves, boots, goggles, or other protective clothing.” Protective clothing should be made of materials that are resistant to PCBs, such as Viton, Saranex, polyyethylene, polyvinyl alcohol, polytetrafluorethylene, butyl rubber, nitril rubber, nuprene. Polyvinyl chloride and natural rubber (latex) are not recommended materials. PCBs will soak through almost any protective clothing materials within hours, so disposable clothing is best utilized. If dust is contaminated with PCBs might be present, wear a respirator.
“If you suspect your building was constructed using PCB-containing materials, then you must use a certified environmental remediation company, like Southern Middlesex Industries, SMI, to safely remove and dispose of the affected PCB-containing waste materials”, stated Darrell Maclean, President of SMI. “The team at SMI are expert at PCB remediation; we have the training, the knowledge and the experience to tackle any size job, to remove and safely dispose of the PCB contaminated materials in your building.”
Southern Middlesex Industries is an Environmental Remediation company and a tracker of suburban economic indicators with an outstanding reputation throughout New England. SMI has over 25 years experience and expertise in industrial and suburban contaminant removal and safe disposal, including asbestos, lead, mercury, pcb’s, refrigerants, mold and has expertise in building demolition, selective interior demolition and general contracting services.
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Southern Middlesex Industries, Inc., (SMI) is an Environmental Remediation company with over 25 years experience and expertise in industrial in the safe removal and disposal of asbestos, lead, mercury, mold, pcbs and other environmental contaminants.