Many older transformers and capacitors may still contain PCBs, and this equipment can be used for 30 years or more. Old fluorescent lightingfixtures and old electrical devices and appliances, such as television sets and refrigerators, therefore may contain PCBs if they were madebefore PCB use was stopped. When these electric devices get hot during operation, small amounts of PCBs may get into the air and raise the levelof PCBs in indoor air. Because devices that contain PCBs may leak with age, they could also be a source of skin exposure to PCBs.
Small amounts of PCBs can be found in almost all outdoor and indoor air, soil, sediments, surface water, and animals. People are exposed to PCBsprimarily from contaminated food and breathing contaminated air. The major dietary sources of PCBs are fish, especially sport fish that werecaught in contaminated lakes or rivers, meat, and dairy products.
People who live near hazardous waste sites may be also exposed to PCBs by drinking PCBcontaminated well water. Adults and children may comeinto contact with PCBs when swimming in contaminated water and by accidentally swallowing water during swimming. However, both of theseexposures are far less serious than exposures from ingesting PCBcontaminated food or from breathing air contaminated by PCBs.
Exposure in the contaminated workplace occurs mostly by breathing air containing PCBs and by touching substances that contain PCBs. Workplaceexposure to PCBs can occur during repair and maintenance of PCBcontaining transformers, accidents, fires, or spills involving PCBcontainingtransformers and older computers and instruments, and disposal of PCB materials.
PCBs may enter into the body through lungs and pass into the bloodstream. A common way for PCBs to enter human body is by eating meat or fishproducts or other foods that contain PCBs. It is also possible that PCBs will enter the body by breathing indoor air or by skin contact inbuildings that have old electrical devices that contain and can leak PCBs. For people living near waste sites or processing or storagefacilities, and for people who work with or around PCBs, the most likely ways that PCBs will enter their bodies are from skin contact withcontaminated soil and from breathing PCB vapours.
Once PCBs enters human body, some may be changed into other related chemicals called metabolites which may be as harmful as some unchanged PCBs.Some of the metabolites may leave human body in the faeces in a few days, but others may remain in fatty tissue for months. Unchanged PCBs mayalso be stored for years mainly in the fat and liver, but smaller amounts can be found in other organs as well. PCBs collect in milk fat and canenter the bodies of infants through breastfeeding.
|NOTE! PREVENT DISPERSION OF DUST! STRICT HYGIENE!||General First Aid: IN ALL CASES CONSULT A DOCTOR!|
|Route of Exposure||Symptoms||First Aid|
|Inhalation||Fresh air rest. Refer for medical attention.|
|Skin||MAY BE ABSORBED! Dry skin. Redness.||Remove contaminated clothes. Rinse and then wash skin with water and soap. Refer for medical attention.|
|Eyes||First rinse with plenty of water for several minutes (remove contact lenses if easily possible) then take to a doctor.|
|Ingestion||Headache. Numbness.||Rest. Refer for medical attention.|
Notes for ICSC Information: Changes into a resinous state (pour point) at 10°C. Distillation range: 365°-390°C.