Polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, are a group of widely used, man-made, chlorinated chemicals that were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until their manufacturing was banned in 1979. PCBs have no odors or taste and range in form from thin lightly colored liquids to waxy solids. PCBs had many desirable properties that made them popular for use in commercial products and building materials. PCBs do not easily burn and are good insulator, so they were widely used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, fluorescent light ballasts and other electrical equipment. PCBs are very stable and great plasticizers, so they were commonly added to caulks and adhesives to enhance their durability and flexibility. Although PCBs are no longer produced, they are still present in the environmental and in products and building materials manufactured before 1979. Their widespread use, coupled with their resistance to breaking down in the environmental, has resulted in PCBs being found in food, air, soil and dust throughout the world.
The University’s PCB Management Program proactively and conservatively addresses PCBs, and goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to safely manage PCBs identified in University building materials. A PCB Request to Evaluate/Sample form must be completed prior to any repair or renovation work that could impact a suspected PCB containing building material in a building or structure built prior to January 1, 1981.