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New York City Transit Environmental Conference 2006. PCBs in Caulk – An Unrecognized Source By Tom Gibbons, CHMM. Introduction. Background on PCBs What are PCBs? What are the Historic Uses? What are the Health Risks? Harvard Study on PCBs in Caulk Findings & Developments in US

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New york city transit environmental conference 2006 l.jpg

New York City TransitEnvironmental Conference 2006

PCBs in Caulk – An Unrecognized Source

By Tom Gibbons, CHMM


Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

  • Background on PCBs

    • What are PCBs?

    • What are the Historic Uses?

    • What are the Health Risks?

  • Harvard Study on PCBs in Caulk

  • Findings & Developments in US

  • Findings & Developments in Europe

  • Regulatory Agency / Industry Responses


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Mixtures of Synthetic Organic Chemicals with Similar Structures and Properties

Chlorine + Biphenyl + Heat = PCBs

What are PCBs?

Molecular Structure =


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What are PCBs? Structures and Properties

  • Properties of PCBs

    • Non-Flammable

    • Chemically Stable

    • High Boiling Point

    • Electrically Insulating


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Historical Uses of PCBs Structures and Properties

  • Electrical Equipment

  • Heat Transfer Equipment

  • Hydraulic Equipment

  • Plasticizers

    • Caulks and Plastics

    • Rubber Products

  • Pigments, Dyes and Paints

  • 1.5 Billion Pounds / 1977


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Health Effects of PCBs Structures and Properties

  • Causes Cancer in Animals

    • Probable Human Carcinogen

    • Liver Cancer / Melanoma

  • Suppresses the Immune System

  • Reproductive System

    • Reduces Birth Weight and Conception Rate

  • Suppresses Neurological Development

  • Disrupts the Endocrine System – Retards Growth


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Harvard School of Public Health Structures and Properties

  • July 2004 – HSPH Press Release

  • 24 Buildings Tested

  • 1/3 or 8 of 24 Exceeded 50 ppm PCB

  • Up to 50,000 ppm PCB

  • Caulk Unrecognized and Widespread Source of PCBs

  • Recommends Routine Testing of Caulk


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • California – 1995

    • Local Watershed Contaminated

    • Sediments in Creek 500 ppm PCB

    • Dunsmuir Reservoir Caulk 15%-20% PCB


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • University of Rhode Island – 2000

    • PCBs in Soil Traced to Building Caulk

    • PCBs in Caulk 600x above EPA Limit

    • EPA Mandated Clean-up Program

    • Over 1-year and $3M to Clean-up


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • Westchester County Schools – 2005

    • French Hill School – Soil > 1ppm PCB

    • EPA Mandated $300K Clean-up of Soil and Window Caulk

    • News Channel 4 PCB Report May 22, 2006


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • 2-year Study – Confidential Client - 2005

    • 291 Facilities

    • PCBs found in Caulk at 40% of facilities

    • 10% over 50 ppm


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • Montana – 2005

    • Fish Contaminated with PCB

    • Bozeman Hatchery Caulk with PCBs


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Recent Studies & Findings Structures and Properties

  • Colorado – 2005

    • Marston Water Treatment Plant – PCB in Caulk

    • Caulk Removed but Underlying Concrete Contaminated - 1000 ppm PCB


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European Studies Structures and Properties

  • Finland

    • Established Link to Elevated Levels of PCB in Worker’s Blood

    • Removal of ALL PCB Caulk Mandated

  • Germany

    • Established Link to Elevated Air Born Concentrations

    • Established Link to Elevated Levels of PCB in Teacher’s Blood

  • Sweden

    • Preparing Requirements to Abate PCB-containing Caulk


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Federal Response Structures and Properties

  • EPA Region 2 – November 3, 2005 Letter

    • “Testing of caulk may be advisable . . .”

    • “PCB containing caulk is not an authorized use and is illegal.”

    • “Potential for exposure may be significant”

    • “PCB-containing caulk must be removed upon discovery”

    • Removal and Disposal per 40 CFR Part 761

  • ATSDR – Aroclor 1254 is a Common Ingredient in Caulk


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State / Local Response Structures and Properties

  • Willis Stephens, NYS Assemblyman

    • Preparing Bill to Require Testing of Caulk in Schools Constructed or Renovated Prior to January 1978.

  • Michael Kaplowitz, Westchester County Legislator 5/06

    • “Now that PCB contamination is being discovered in more and more schools, we need to take a closer look and step up our efforts to get the EPA to appropriately regulate testing and remediation.”


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State / Local Response Structures and Properties

  • State University Construction Fund

    • Requires Testing for PCBs in Caulk Prior to Disturbance

  • State Education Department

    • Drafting Guidelines on PCB-containing Caulk

  • Con Edison

    • Requires Testing Prior to Facility Closure

    • 1 Glazing and 1 Caulk / Elevation / Building


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Conclusions Structures and Properties

  • Caulk is a suspected PCB-containing material and should be routinely tested for PCBs prior to disturbance.

  • Caulk is a significant PCB exposure risk.

  • PCB-containing caulk must be removed and disposed of as PCB waste upon discovery.

  • State agencies and private businesses have begun to develop guidelines for testing and removal of PCB-containing caulk.

  • Currently testing caulk for PCBs is not required by law but “may be advisable.”


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For More Information Structures and Properties

Please Contact:

Thomas Gibbons, CHMM

Client Program Manager

[email protected]

212-290-6098

646-529-3641


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