Cinnaminson, New Jersey, December 27th
In November, a jury awarded $62 million to a group of individuals that claimed they suffered from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a school in Washington. According to multiple media reports, the lawsuit alleged they were exposed to the PCBs from leaky light ballasts.
Concerns over PCB exposure from aging fluorescent light ballasts (FLBs) have been an issue for years. In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a 5-page information and reference fact sheet about PCBs in FLBs. The document provides information on how to investigate for, remove, store, and dispose of PCB-containing FLBs.
PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. They were domestically manufactured from 1929 until manufacturing was banned in 1979 in the United States. Due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point, and electrical insulating properties, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. They were used extensively as coolants in hydraulic systems and as dielectric fluids in electrical equipment, as well as in many other applications. In buildings, in addition to fluorescent light ballasts, PCBs were once used in some paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives, caulking, and specialty coatings.
“EPA reports that any fluorescent light ballasts manufactured before July 2, 1979, may contain PCBs,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “According to the agency, these ballasts commonly contain pure PCB liquid in small, sealed capacitors. It is also possibly in FLB ‘potting material’ which is a tar-like filling/packing material inside the metal ballast casing. Any PCB-containing FLBs that are still in use have exceeded their designed life span and are now a concern if they are leaking. Even old intact FLBs may emit small amounts of PCBs into the air during normal use according to the EPA.”
EMSL’s laboratories, located across the United States and Canada, offer environmental, material, and industrial hygiene testing for PCBs and other hazardous chemicals. The testing experts at EMSL have even sponsored an educational video about PCBs and fluorescent light ballasts that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/eBAhbtV8lEE
To learn more about PCB laboratory testing services or to request sampling supplies, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.