Despite being outlawed by Congress in 1979, PCBs are still found in our air, water and soil
Just last month, The Daily Illini published a report about many Illinois residents being up in arms over a DeWitt County landfill’s plans to dump 2.5 million cu yd of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminated waste at the site. The landfill just happens to be over a giant reservoir of groundwater used by 750,000 people.
The production of PCB was banned by Congress in 1979. Even though that was more than 30 years ago, PCBs are still making the news today.
The reason for the concern is due to the fact that PCBs do not readily break down and therefore may remain for long periods of time cycling between air, water and soil. They can be carried long distances and have been found all over the world. They have been demonstrated to cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.
“Although no longer commercially produced in the United States, PCBs may be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 ban,” said Mr. Chambers, president of EC2, an environmental and indoor air quality testing company. “Three years ago, the [U.S.] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new guidance regarding PCBs in caulk from buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1978. The EPA recommends testing for PCBs in peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk in buildings, especially when found in school environments. People need to be aware of dangers associated with exposure to PCBs."