Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB’s)

Can be found fluorescent ballasts and transformers, regulations:

  • All ballasts and transformers containing PCBs may only be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.
  • PCBs awaiting disposal must be stored. PCB-containing lighting ballasts must be stored in approved containers in a secure, weather protected area. The containers must be on a sealed surface. Gravel, dirt or other permeable surface is not acceptable and any floor drains must be sealed.
  • PCB ballasts and fluorescent tubes can be collected and disposed of FOC through the BC LightRecycle program.

Polychlorinated biphenyls were widely used as dielectric and coolant fluids in electrical apparatus, cutting fluids for machining operations, carbonless copy paper and in heat transfer fluids. Because of PCBs’ environmental toxicity and classification as a persistent organic pollutant, PCB production was banned by the United States Congress in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001. The International Research Agency on Cancer (IRAC), rendered PCBs as definite carcinogens in humans. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PCBs cause cancer in animals and are probable human carcinogens. Many rivers and buildings including schools, parks, and other sites are contaminated with PCBs, and there have been contaminations of food supplies with the toxins.

Request a hazmat survey to identify hazardous materials in your home or business.

Some PCBs share a structural similarity and toxic mode of action with dioxin. Other toxic affects such as endocrine disruption (notably blocking of thyroid system functioning) and neurotoxicity are known. The maximum allowable contaminant level in drinking water in the United States is set at zero, but because of water treatment technologies, a level of 0.5 parts per billion is the de facto level.