PCBs in Aging Fluorescent Light Ballasts a Potential Threat to Students and Other Building Occupants
Clark Seif Clark provides testing, consulting and training services to help protect against exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and other hazardous substances in schools, businesses, institutions and homes.
Chatsworth, CA, July 1st, 2021 -- Polychlorinated biphenyls (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.
PCBs were once used in a number of products due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point and electrical insulating properties. In fact, they were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. One area of extensive use was as coolants in hydraulic systems and as dielectric fluids in electrical equipment. In building materials, PCBs were once an ingredient in some paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives, caulking and specialty coatings.
One area of concern that has made national headlines in recent years is the presence of PCBs in old fluorescent light ballasts (FLBs) that may leak and can still be found in some schools and buildings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a 5-page information and reference fact sheet on the topic recently. In it, the agency reports any FLB manufactured before July 2, 1979, may contain PCBs and that these ballasts commonly contain pure PCB liquid in small (less than two ounces) sealed capacitor(s). PCBs have also been found in FLB potting material, which is a tar-like filling/packing material inside the metal ballast casing. FLBs containing PCBs are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“In California, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) goes so far as to recommend all school districts take preventative action by voluntarily surveying, inventorying and retrofitting fluorescent light fixtures that may contain PCBs in the light ballasts,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) for Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “At CSC, our industrial hygiene, environmental and IEQ professionals offer PCB and mercury consulting, testing, monitoring and training services to identify potential exposure risks from FLBs and other PCB-containing materials and mercury vapor in the fluorescent bulbs. These services protect workers, building occupants and the environment, while helping companies and institutions with regulatory compliance and liability issues.”
CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about PCBs and fluorescent light ballasts that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/eBAhbtV8lEE
To learn more about PCBs or other building science, occupational, air quality, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.csceng.com, email email@example.com or call (800) 807-1118.
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.