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PCB Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

PCB Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - FAQs

How do I dispose of fluorescent light ballasts?

Fluorescent light ballasts contain PCBs if they do not have a manufacturer's mark on them saying "No PCBs." The black material (known as potting compound) in the ballast that has a distinct, unpleasant odor, and drips upon failure, is not PCB, but it may be contaminated. The PCBs are contained in a thimble-sized capacitor buried somewhere in the potting compound. The capacitor, which is regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), contains about an ounce of nearly pure PCB.

Under what conditions do I need to report a PCB spill?

Spills must be reported to the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802), if they contain one pound or more of pure PCB (Aroclor). Spills must be reported to EPA's Toxic Substances Branch if they directly contaminate surface water, sewers, drinking water supplies, grazing lands, or vegetable gardens. Spills must be reported within 24 hours of discovery.

Where can I dispose of PCBs?

Call the your Regional EPA office for a list of commercially-permitted PCB disposal sites.

How do I test for PCBs?

The EPA requires testing by gas chromatography (GC) for documentation of compliance with the regulations. Field test kits may not be used for documentation, but may be useful for general surveys for the detection of PCBs.

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