Author: Jim Okun

PCBs and Orcas: Are PCBs Really Decimating the Ocean’s Killer Whales?

Over the past year there have been a number of articles published about reproductive risks to orcas (killer whales) posed by PCBs (example articles 1, 2, and 3).  Some of these articles go so far as to claim that orcas are threatened with extinction due to their reproduction being inhibited by PCBs. But do PCBs […]

PCBs in Buildings: Primary Sources, Secondary Sinks and Tertiary Sinks

PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, are a group of related chemicals that were used for a variety of applications up until the 1970s.  In the 1960s the development of improved gas chromatography methods allowed environmental scientists to become aware of the environmental persistence and global distribution of PCBs in the environment.  Since that time there have been […]

The Cost Side of Removing PCBs from Schools

Three years ago I wrote a draft post about the cost of PCB removal in schools, but then never finished it.  What reminded me about it was a recent article[1] by Robert Herrick et al in which he developed an estimate of the number of schools in the US that may contain PCBs in caulk.  […]

Schools, PCBs and TSCA; the Law of Unintended Consequences – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I wrote about the misguided push in my home state of Connecticut to test more schools for PCBs. There’s a misconception that PCBs, even with the low potential doses likely to occur in the indoor environment, pose a health risk. This misconception persists despite a 50+ year history of […]

New PCB Remedial Technology and the Cleanup Standard Problem

In my last post I discussed my invitation to speak about PCB exposures at the 2015 American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) conference in Salt Lake City. In this post I want to review a fascinating remedial technology presented during the conference’s PCB session by Professor Cherie Yestrebsky from the University of Central Florida. Zero Valent […]