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Over the years, there have been many changes in the federal regulations regarding PCBs. From the beginning, utility personnel were in a dilemma as to how to deal with the problem.
First, we had trouble realizing that the askarel we were using in our transformers was more than 50% polychlorinated biphenyl, and even if it was, could it possibly be a toxic or a hazard to anyone's health? After all, we and those before us had been up to our elbows in the stuff for years. It may have burned our eyes a little, but as far as we know it did us no physical harm. We also found it was many things in our everyday life, at work and at home.
Soon those of use close to the situation realized that the utility industry, in particular, was in deep trouble. Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act in 1976 and singled our PCB to be controlled. Three years later EPA published the first of a number of rules that have changed the way utilities do business. The industry has been forced to spend millions of dollars and countless man-hours dealing with regulations that we questioned from the start and, at best, learned to live with. In addition, the rules change so often it is truly difficult to keep up with them.
This paper tries to take us from the start, thru the confusing muddle of regulations, to where we are today.
askarel, Aroclor, Environmental Protection Agency, federal regulations, insulating fluids, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), PCB, toxic Substance Control Act
General supervisor, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Baltimore, MD