The EPA recommends that prior to commencing any activity involving the demolition, renovation, repair or remodeling of building materials installed before July 2, 1979, the materials should be evaluated for the presence of PCBs. Regulations are applicable to both PCB waste materials and PCBs still in use. PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications.

The EPA regulations concerning PCBs can be found in 40 CFR Subchapter R Part 761 Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Manufacturing, Processing, Distribution in Commerce, and Use Prohibitions. Per the EPA, if the use of PCBs is not specifically authorized and the concentration is greater than or equal to 50 PPM, then its use is prohibited and the materials must be removed. Otherwise the continued presence of PCBs would be a “use” violation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Caulking is one application where the use of PCBs was never authorized. Per NYSDEC, PCBs in concentrations of 50 PPM or greater is considered hazardous waste.

There are two main types of PCB waste, “Bulk Product Waste” and “Remediation Waste” and they are defined in 40 CFR 761.3. Disposal options are discussed in 40 CFR 761.62 and 762.61 respectively. “PCB Bulk Product Waste” is waste derived from manufactured products containing PCBs in a non-liquid state, i.e. caulk, Galbestos, light ballast potting material etc. Wastes containing PCBs as a result of a spill, release or unauthorized disposal would be considered “Remediation Waste”.

As a contractor we are obligated to inform employees of the hazards that they may contact at work per the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.  Additionally, if PCBs are disposed of improperly, the generator (owner) and potentially the contractor, even if they were unaware of the presence of PCBs, would be liable for the improper disposal of PCBs. Both “use” and disposal violations would be potentially subject to criminal prosecution and fines of up to $37,500 per day under TSCA.

Internet Resources

Stay up to date on what is happening with PCBs in Malibu


EPA PCB website


EPA PCBs in Caulk


Link to the EPA Publication “ Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development”. Chapter 8 is on PCBs.


EPA Q&A Manual on PCBs




The EPA is improving their websites, some URLs may change.  Learn more…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s