Author: Jim Okun

Pyrrhotite Destroys My Home’s Foundation – Part 2 – The Insurance Company

If you haven’t already read Part 1 of this mini-series, please do so before reading this post; what follows will make more sense. But first, a rant on home owner’s insurance policies.  For your sake, I hope you never need your home owner’s insurance.  You know all those warm fuzzy ads on TV with clever […]

My Pyrrhotite in Concrete Story (Part 1)

In 1989 my family and I moved from a pleasant Boston suburb to rural Ellington in north central Connecticut. We loved Ellington and quickly made good friends, primarily the parents from our daughter’s play group. Our house was set on 5 acres of mostly forested land, I installed a playground set with swings for the […]

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 […]