EPA Experts answer: Should PCBs be left in schools?


EPA Health Effects of PCBs Webinar: April 28th, 2014

The EPA gathered these three experts to make presentations to the entire US on the serious health affects of PCBs even at low levels. You can see these presentations on www.AmericaUnites.com/timeline and the March 28th date. Environ’s plan calls for managing the PCBs in place, not testing for the PCB sources, relying only on one exposure pathway (inhalation) and ignoring the other exposure pathways (touch, ingestion etc), the experts were asked the following question:

Q: “Question from Jennifer deNicola: How do you feel about PCBs in schools? Do you think that we should leave PCBs in schools? Some people want to manage PCBs in place and continue to let them expose school age children, do you think this method will put children in potential harms way?”


A: EPA toxicologist, Dr. Geniece Lehmann, said, “We know less than we like to about dose response in terms of PCB inhalation. But we know enough about PCBs to know that inhaling them is probably not good. So I think that leaving them in place is probably not the course that we want to follow. However to what extent they need to be remediated is the area of contention and that can only be answered if we know if we can identify a level that we think can be safe and right now we have identified a level that we can say with uncertainty that we expect to be safe based on oral exposure studies but we would be able to have a lot more confidence in that data from inhalation studies.”

A: Swedish EPA, Dr Johansson, said, “If I can add to this. I would certainly not recommend to leave PCBs in these buildings. Because from our experience clearly that not only do they contaminate the indoor air but PCBs are escaping into the environment and they are there for considerable time and part of it will come back to us and prolong the exposure that we all have from PCBs. But the important thing is that when it comes to human health risk assessment it’s not based on the one exposure, not to be based on the indoor air or the inhalation (only) but because we are all exposed to contaminated food on top of indoor air and that accumulates and we have different patterns for the composition of PCBs that we could be exposed to.”

A: University of Iowa Professor Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Dr Ludewig, said, “May I say something? PCB-52, 28, 101, 110: those are more of the neurotoxic ones and honestly when I see that there is PCB-95 (in schools) and that there is a correlation to autism and Parkinson’s, I wonder why there is this increase in Autism in this society and Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. I think we have to learn much much more before we can make an informed decision here. Meantime we should just err on the side of caution and where it is possible, like removing the light ballasts, is not such a big deal, so why not do it in the schools, when there are old ones with PCBs. So remove the sources where it is possible and try and be as vigilant as possible, that’s my attitude. Especially also when you consider we are not only exposed to PCBs but then we have PBD’s in our homes, food, the school exposure and that means we have mixtures and with respect to AH receptors, its additive…So when we can remove an exposure somewhere or lower it, we should do that.”




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