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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Hazard Knowledge

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used as dielectric filler liquids in some types of electrical equipment such as transformers, switchgear, capacitors and in the starter units of fluorescent lights and fractional horsepower motors. If manufactured before 1986, these may contain PCBs.

Some equipment is labelled as containing PCBs, but signs may be missing because of age or as a result of the incident.

PCBs are highly toxic, and can lead to chronic illnesses including liver damage and skin rashes. They pollute the environment, accumulate in the food chain and are not biodegradable.