“We thrive and survive on planet earth as a single human family. And one of our main responsibilities is to leave to successor generations a sustainable future.” - UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan

Aquinas College

Polychlorinated Biphenyl's (PCB'S)


PCB's are mixtures of synthetic organic chemicals with similar properties that were widely used during the mid-1900's in hundreds of industrial applications. They were used in electrical and heat transfer equipment, as plasticizers in paints, in plastics, rubbers, pigments and dyes, and carbon-less paper.

In 1977, Congress prohibited the manufacturing and distribution of PCB's with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Not only are PCB's known to cause cancer in animals, but they also cause harm to the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems. TSCA banned the manufacture of PCB's but unfortunately, it did not eliminate them. There are still Superfund sites with PCB contamination across the country.

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Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
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