Benefits of the PCB Cleanup and Disposal Program

The PCB Program in action

Visit our Success Stories web page to read about the PCB Cleanup and Disposal Program’s accomplishments at specific sites and facilities.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic chemicals that would pose a risk to communities if improperly managed and controlled. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to ensure the safe cleanup and disposal of PCBs. The PCB Cleanup and Disposal Program benefits communities by ensuring that sites contaminated with PCBs are cleaned up to reduce risks and by ensuring that materials contaminated with PCBs are safely managed and disposed of in landfills or destroyed in other types of waste management units. EPA does this through the implementation of TSCA section 6(e), which imposes prohibitions on and requirements for the manufacturing, processing, distribution, use, and disposal of PCBs through the PCB regulations. These regulations are codified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in part 761.

What are PCBs? Why are PCBs dangerous?

PCBs are a group of man-made chemicals that have beenĀ used in hundreds of products, including electrical equipment, plasticizers and dyes/pigments. They were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until intentional manufacturing was banned in 1979. PCBs, if released into the environment, persist for long periods of time and can bioaccumulate (i.e., increase in concentration) in small organisms and in fish over time. People and animals who consume PCBs may be exposed to PCBs. PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in animals and adversely impact their immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. Studies have also shown that PCBs may have carcinogenic and other adverse effects in humans as well.