Reducing the Risk of PCB Exposure

While polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs have long been banned by the United States federal government, traces remain in the surroundings almost four decades since. In 1979, the government, through the Environmental Protection Agency, concluded that PCBs have been causing considerable harm to ecological balance and human health. However, by that time, it was already too late. PCBs—solely produced by the chemical industry giant Monsanto since the 1930s—have already contaminated several areas in America.

Unfortunately, Monsanto PCBs have contaminated a number water sources and brought significant damage to wildlife calling these creeks, lakes, and oceans their home. Today, these damages continue to be felt. Several states have made sure to advise residents to avoid swimming or fishing in highly contaminated areas like Snow Creek in Anniston, Alabama. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, these advisories allow residents to know which type of local fish is safe to consume and offer restrictions and recommendations on how to cook and prepare such food. These advisories are especially crucial considering that consuming PCB contaminated fish can be particularly harmful for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and younger children. People living near water sources that are known to be contaminated by PCBs should take these advisories seriously and follow recommendations imposed by their local governments.

Individuals can also be exposed to PCBs through older models of appliances, electrical equipment, and construction materials. Workers in construction and maintenance are the most susceptible to this type of exposure. Thankfully, certain workplace standards have been put into place to ensure that these workers don’t suffer from the risk of PCB exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have made several regulatory policies and recommendations in this regard. In particular, they instilled time limitations that will keep workers safe from the effects of prolonged exposure.