Health Concerns of PCB Found in Schools: Symptoms to Keep in Mind

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Currently, the health issues caused by PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) have gone up globally. The Berkshire Eagle, in August 2023, shed light on two lawsuits concerning the PCB exposure against General Electric Company and Monsanto by the people who resided close to the previous GE site. T

With time, people are voicing their suffering caused by PCB contamination. Two sisters, Carol Barosso and Betty Jackson, had cancer because of this exposure, and they filed a lawsuit for it. There was yet another complaint by their brother, Charles Barosso, who developed Parkinson’s disease.

That is not all. Several school districts have witnessed this toxic chemical threat in their old buildings. Most public buildings were constructed between 1950 and 1978, and they all have PCBs much higher than the federally approved levels. It is 200 to 1000 times more than the permitted count.

It is necessary to understand the dangers of PCB in human health. This article will discuss the symptoms of PCB exposure and how it affects schools so that people realize the dangers of the chemicals and start taking the necessary action.

Understanding PCB

Simply put, PCBs are artificial chemicals present in standard building materials, such as paint, caulking, and old fluorescent light ballasts. The chemical often gets detected in old industrial devices, for instance, the transformers that are kept on utility poles or are pad-mounted. Based on their characteristics, PCBs were used in several commercial and industrial applications before it got banned in 1979.

But the point of concern is that it remains in the environment. When the PCB-containing materials get directly disturbed, they have a chance to blend into the air, on your skin, and even on the surfaces of various objects. They can fuse into the air by getting evaporated from the material that has PCB, generating a cycle of evaporation-condensation-evaporation.

For very low levels, the PCB contamination is not visible in any way, and neither will it have any smell.

Symptoms of PCB Exposure and the Ailments Caused

Typically, there aren’t any instant symptoms resulting from PCB exposure till such time one gets massively exposed. It could be a person falling into a tank that has PCBs or inhaling a huge amount of the chemical. In such situations, common PCB exposure symptoms include respiratory irritation, vomiting, nausea, and skin irritation.

If the exposure level is low but for a prolonged time at the workplace, it can make the workers develop a particular acne, over months and weeks, known as chloracne. It can also cause darkening of the nails and skin. It can also lead to an enlarged liver and hormonal issues and make children suffer from neurological and immunological effects. Long-time exposure to this chemical will lead to the development of cancer.

There have been instances where women affected by this chemical during their pregnancy give birth to babies with neurological issues and motor control problems. It includes minimized IQ levels and short-term memory.

Studies suggest that a team of kids in Michigan whose mothers have suffered from PCB exposure developed problems like low birth weight, decreased head size, and questionable thinking and assessing capacity. Yet another woman’s group affected by PCB exposure in New York witnessed shorter pregnancy times.

TorHoerman Law states that people who have been affected by PCB exposure and have faced ample health hazards should file a lawsuit. For this, it is necessary to get in touch with an expert lawyer who will make use of the evidence and medical documents to build a strong case and ensure that you receive fair compensation on time. This amount will help you to cover all the damages that you’ve endured because of this chemical exposure.

PCB Exposure in School Districts

Most school districts find out about PCB exposure or its presence when the buildings undergo a crucial renovation. The recognition of the PCBs inside the building materials requires remediation work to eliminate this chemical.

According to the EPA, the school districts should remediate buildings where the PCB levels in the materials go beyond 50 ppm. Since the government considers the debris having this chemical as a fatal waste, removing it needs correct handling and disposal. The remediation efforts might cost the school districts a fortune based on the building size and the degree of PCB presence.

More than a decade ago, the EPA came up with a few guidelines for testing when a school district is renovating or demolishing a specific building. The EPA suggests it is necessary to test, peel, crack, and caulk to check the presence of PCBs. According to federal regulations, only mandatory testing inside school buildings is the necessary thing to do. If not, the toxic chemicals go undetected in various buildings, thereby causing health hazards for students and teachers.

In conclusion, PCB exposure is known to lead to a flurry of health hazards in humans. The old buildings are sites where there is a maximum presence of these chemicals, hence the school districts should be watchful about it. There is a need for remediation techniques to minimize the PCB exposure levels in the future. And if you have already been affected by the chemical, you can seek both medical and legal aid.

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