||PCB is insoluble in, and is heavier than water. It is
essential to prevent PCBs entering the food chain and hence spillages should be
contained by sand-bags (if in large quantities) to ensure they are kept out of drains or
Spillages can be absorbed by normal
industrial absorbent material such as sand, ash etc., and surfaces wiped with rags soaked
in cleaning oil.
However, all such materials must be disposed of as PCB
contaminated items and not as normal waste.
||PCBs are moderate skin irritants when contact is
of short duration. With prolonged contact, this may result in a form of dermatitis known
Where contact is unavoidable, gloves
of an impermeable material should be used. If skin contact occurs, the affected parts
should be thoroughly washed with soap and water.
||PCBs cause eye irritation and wherever possible
goggles should be worn whenever free PCB liquid is present.
If the eyes have been exposed to liquid PCB, or any associated vapours,
they should be thoroughly washed with running water.
||In addition to causing irritation to eyes, exposure to
high concentrations of PCB vapours can create problems to the nose and upper respiratory
tract as well as internal reactions.
normally sealed construction of power capacitors, vapours will not be produced and in
leakage conditions at normal room temperature, PCB is not expected to create harmful
Smoking should, however, be avoided when handling
PCBs. In the event of exposure to fumes from hot PCB, medical advice should be
||The full effects of PCB on humans is still the subject
of scientific enquiry and includes possible effects on the heart, blood vessels, liver and
It is imperative, therefore,
that ingestion of PCB's is avoided and in any accidental contact with internal parts of
the body, medical help should be obtained.
Attention to cleanliness in handling PCBs, washing
hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or using toilet facilities is essential. No
unguarded open cuts or abrasions should be allowed to come into contact with PCB.
||Paradoxically, one of the main dangers of PCB arises
from its original major benefit of low flammability.
PCBs can be burnt but when incinerated at less than 1100șC, such as
in factory fires, it is possible that dioxins and dibenzofurans may be created which can
pollute the atmosphere.
These highly toxic and dangerous chemicals can then be
deposited over a wide area not only creating a major health hazard, but necessitating
plant closure and expensive decontamination.
||In almost all countries, the disposal of PCB is
strictly controlled and in some major industrial countries its use is now completely
In the U.K. legislation covering the
disposal of PCB capacitors is contained in the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (Special
Failure to comply with these regulations carries severe
financial penalties and possible imprisonment.
From the end of June 1986 the UK law has been extended
to ban the repair, sale or reinstallation of PCB capacitors.