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PCBs in Schools Research

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of organic chemicals that have been used in a variety of commercial products. PCBs were used in caulk, electronics, fluorescent light ballasts, and other building materials between about the 1950s and 1979. Buildings built or renovated during that time may contain PCBs in caulking and other materials.

In 1976, Congress banned the manufacture and use of PCBs because of concern about their health and environmental effects and they were phased out except for certain limited uses in 1979. Health concerns related to PCB exposure include, but are not limited to, cancer, reproductive effects and neurological effects.

In response to concerns raised by the public about PCBs in schools, EPA scientists have been identifying and evaluating potential sources of PCBs in schools to better understand exposures to children, teachers, and other school workers. EPA is also investigating methods to reduce or eliminate PCB emissions in a school setting.

Research Results

As EPA gains new information, it will make further recommendations regarding PCBs in schools and how to best prevent harmful exposure.


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