The Workplace and PCBs

 

 

PCBs are becoming a very important and serious concern in the construction and demoliton industries. Before doing any work, you must ask yourself: 

 

Was the building built or material installed between the 1930's and late 1970's?

Is the material you are working on suspect for PCBs?  

 

The only way to know for sure is to test for PCBs. If you are unsure or suspect there might be PCBs present, it is advisable to seek professional help.

 

It is very important to remember that there are regulatory requirements when PCB contaminated materials, such as caulk, are renovated, repaired or abated.  It is your legal obligation to follow these regulations.

  • OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has standards for only two types of PCBs: 

    • The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Chlorodiphenyl (42% Chlorine) is 1 milligram per cubic meter of air (1 mg/m3);

    • The PEL for Chlorodiphenyl (54% Chlorine) is 0.5 mg/m3Both of these standards were developed before it was known that PCBs can cause cancer and reproductive effects, and they do not cover many other forms of PCBs. 
       

  • NIOSH: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends a PEL of 1 microgram per cubic meter level, 1,000 times less than the OSHA standard.