AIHA White Paper Examines the Potential Hazards of PCBs in the Building Environment

Release No. SPR-13-1008-01    

Nicole Racadag, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700;  

Document examines issues surrounding PCBs in construction and construction-related activities 

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (October 8, 2013) —  The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has issued a white paper​ in response to the growing evidence that exposures from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in both vapor and particulate matter form, emanate from PCB-containing products in the building environment.  In most cases, building owners and occupants are not even aware of the existence of these materials and their potential hazards.

“This document provides a comprehensive overview of PCBs in the built environment, evaluates the exposure potential for occupants and personnel, and identifies gaps in the current knowledge base that would help occupational and environmental health professionals to better understand the public health risk from PCBs in building materials,” said Jack Springston, CIH, CSP, editor of the white paper and chair of AIHA’s Indoor Environmental Quality Committee.

PCBs are a group of man-made chemicals that were manufactured in the United States from the late 1920s until 1979. They were used in many building materials, particularly caulking, grout, expansion joint material, and paint, from 1950 to 1978.  PCB exposures, which can occur in the building environment from direct contact, volatilization, deterioration or disturbance of PCB-containing materials, have been associated with a number of health effects such as damage to the hepatic, endocrine, dermal/ocular, immunological, neurological and reproductive systems.

The white paper, developed by AIHA's Indoor Environmental Quality​ Committee in conjunction with the Construction, Environmental Issues, Exposure Assessment Strategies and Risk Assessment committees, is geared toward helping occupational and environmental health professionals better understand the risk to public health from PCBs in building materials.





​About AIHA®

Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia.