Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)


PCBs were produced commercially in the United States from 1929 until 1977. Marketed worldwide under trade names such as Aroclor, Askarel, and Therminol, the annual U.S. production peaked in 1970 with a total production volume of 85 million pounds (39 million kg) of Aroclors. Between 1957 and 1971, 12 different types of Aroclors, with chlorine contents ranging from 21 to 68% were produced in the United States.

In 1976, the U.S. Congress charged EPA with regulating the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, and use of PCBs. Currently regulated pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the first set of effluent standards for PCBs was issued by EPA in 1977; manufacturing and importing limitations regarding PCBs were issued in 1979. After subsequent amendments, the regulations stipulate that the production of PCBs in the United States is generally banned, the use of PCB-containing materials still in service is restricted, the discharge of PCB-containing effluents is prohibited, the disposal of materials contaminated by PCBs is regulated, and the import or export of PCBs is only permitted through an exemption granted from EPA.


Section 6(e)(3)(A) of TSCA prohibited all manufacture and importation of PCBs after January 1, 1979. On January 2, 1979, however,