Polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB is a chemical that was widely used in transformers, electric motors, and ballasts as a cooling fluid and in PVC coatings, sealants, and lubricants. While the use of PCB’s has been banned for over 30 years they can still be found in older equipment that is still in use today. The most common source of exposure is through direct skin contact, though breathing contaminated air can also be of concern.
Polychlorinated biphenyls do not burn easily are good insulators and were historically used in electrical equipment such as transformers and capacitors. PCB is made up of 209 chlorinated compounds and have been linked to various cancers in humans and animals including melanomas, liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and brain cancer, and may be linked to breast cancer.