Seattle, Washington, March 17th
A school district in Washington recently offered a significant settlement to students and their families that may have been exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on campus. While not accepting responsibility for hazardous conditions on campus, the $34 million offer is reported to be the maximum allowed under the school district’s insurance policy. The PCB exposure is said to have come from fluorescent light ballasts (FLBs) and caulking materials used during the construction of the campus.
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 and caulking materials, PCBs were once used in some paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives, and specialty coatings.
“Concerns over PCB exposure from aging fluorescent light ballasts and caulking materials in schools and other buildings have been an issue for years,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “As recently as 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a 5-page information and reference fact sheet about PCBs in FLBs that provides information on how to investigate for, remove, store, and dispose of PCB-containing FLBs. The agency has also reported that caulk put in place between 1950 and 1979 may contain as much as 40% PCBs.”
Testing is the only way to know for sure if PCBs are present in suspect materials. The laboratories of EMSL Analytical, located across the United States and Canada, offer environmental, material, and industrial hygiene testing for PCBs and other hazardous substances. EMSL has 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 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.