PCBs In Building Materials

Whether you have read about polychlorinated biphenyls in the news or are working with older properties and need more information about the benefits of testing, at Benchmark Environmental Engineering, we are your San Jose source for information on PCBs in building materials. Shed some light on any concerns you may have about exposure to PCBs. Let us answer some of the questions you have about these once-popular synthetic chemicals.

What Is PCB?

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of man-made chemicals added to building materials to add flexibility, durability, and flame retardant properties. They were used most widely in structures built or renovated during the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. After 1979, these substances were banned from use.

Common Sources Of PCB Contamination

Pre-1979 built or remodeled structures, like schools or residential buildings, are where you are most likely to find PCB contamination. These toxic substances can off-gas into the air or collect in dust and debris where they may be inhaled, ingested, or handled unknowingly. School administrators, homeowners, and anyone doing renovations, demolitions, or maintenance work on older buildings should especially be aware of these common sources of PCBs in building materials.

  • Fluorescent Light Ballasts (FLBs)
  • Caulking, Coatings & Sealants
  • Specialty Paints
  • Adhesives
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Acoustic Boards

PCBs can spread into the surrounding building materials and even soils of a building. They can leach into furniture, carpets, and floor tiles. Exposure to secondary sources of contamination is no less dangerous to you, your students, or your workers.

The Health Risks Of Exposure

These toxic chemicals accumulate in the body. So, you want to limit your exposure as much as possible. They are considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA and are known to have potential effects on infant development, reproduction, the immune system, and the skin.

Risk Management Solutions

If you know or suspect the building materials in your facility contain PCBs, you may need to put in place best cleaning and monitoring practices as recommended by the EPA. Some of these include making sure your ventilation system is in tip-top shape, using HEPA filters when vacuuming and wet mopping instead of dry sweeping (which can spread contamination around).

If the PCB contamination is more widespread, at higher levels, or just too great a risk for comfort, removal, sealing and monitoring may be your best option. Handling or removing PCB-containing waste materials should always be left to properly trained, experienced contractors for your safety. In order to know which solution best fits your needs, we offer professional PCB testing services.

Air Testing For PCBs In San Jose

At Benchmark Environmental Engineering, we understand that when it comes to PCBs in building materials, we are talking about the health and safety of your family, your students, your San Jose tenants or even the profitability of a California property investment. Air testing for PCBs can give you peace of mind or alert you of how big your contamination problem is. Contact us to schedule indoor air quality testing for PCBs today.

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