Advanced Quality
Hazmat Industries

What are PCBs and What Should I Do about Them?

Posted on March 20, 2015 in Blog

What are PCBs and What Should I Do about Them?PCBs are hazardous materials that need to be removed safely when disturbed. Learn more about PCBs below and what should be done to avoid exposure.

What are PCBs?

PCB stands for Polychlorinated biphenyl. Before July 1978, PCBs were used frequently in fluorescent light ballasts at 50 ppm or greater in the capacitors and asphalt potting material surrounding the capacitors. It’s a known carcinogen that does not exist in nature. PCBs are either oily liquids or colors, are colorless or light yellow, and have no smell or taste. They were used as coolants and lubricants prior to 1978 because don’t easily burn and are good insulators. PCBs are persistent, bioaccumulative (meaning that it can be absorbed by living organisms), and toxic pollutants that are dangerous to humans and animals alike.

Where are People Being Exposed to PCBs?

There are various potential sources of PCB exposure, including eating fish and shellfish, meat, milk, and their by-products, as well as breathing indoor air in buildings where electrical equipment contains PCBs. Other possible sources include:

  • poorly maintained hazardous waste sites that contain PCBs
  • illegal/improper dumping of PCB waste such as transformer fluids
  • leaks from electrical transformers containing PCBs
  • improper disposal of consumer products that contain PCBs,
  • old microscope oil and hydraulic fluids,
  • old TVs, refrigerators, light fixtures, electrical devises, or appliances made before 1978 that have PCB capacitators
  • sediment in the bottom of lakes, rivers, and oceans constantly release small amounts of PCBs into the environment

What are the Risks of Exposure?

Those who have been exposed to PCBs may experience stomach, liver, or kidney damage, skin irritation, and/or thyroid gland injuries.

How Can I Make Sure There Aren’t PCBs in My Property?

The best way is to call AQHI, Inc at 800-481-8080 for an expert hazardous material evaluation. We’ll check every inch of your property for contaminants like lead, mold, asbestos, as well as PCBs, and then formulate a removal plan. At all times, we’ll follow every safety measure possible to ensure secure and thorough removal of all hazardous materials, so you can rest assured that when our trucks drive away, you can enter your buildings worry-free—you’ll be breathing the cleanest air possible. Give us a call today at 800-481-8080 or email