Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic substances that have been banned since 1979, but are still present in some contaminated areas.
PCB Lawsuits are being investigated for people exposed.
Question: What are PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)?
Answer: PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) are a group of man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms.
They were widely used in industrial and electrical applications due to their insulating and fire-resistant properties but have been banned in the United States since 1979 — PCBs are still a present danger for human health and the environment.
On this page, we’ll discuss this question in further depth, an overview of the PCB Lawsuit, health effects and symptoms caused by PCB exposure, who qualifies to file a PCB Exposure Lawsuit, and much more.
People exposed to PCBs have reported severe and often fatal health conditions, including several types of cancer.
Scientific research on the health effects of PCB exposure have concluded that these toxic substance are probable human carcinogens.
PCBs were primarily produced by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), who have faced PCB Lawsuits filed by individuals, schools, municipalities, and state governments.
PCB Lawsuits have resulted in settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
If you or a loved one were exposed to PCBs and subsequently developed related health problems, you may be eligible to file a PCB Lawsuit claim.
Our law firm is currently investigating PCB levels and exposure in school buildings throughout the St. Louis, MO area.
Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation, or use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the PCB Lawsuit instantly.
Reach out to our law firm with any questions or concerns you may have about PCB Lawsuit claims, PCBs in schools, and more.
Our law firm has decades of experience representing individuals exposed to toxic substances.
TorHoerman Law aims to hold negligent companies liable for the harmful health effects of their products and practices, and we have secured over $4 billion in negotiated settlements and verdicts since opening in 2009.
We are comprised of several highly skilled and coveted chemical exposure lawyers who have dedicated their careers to seeking justice for people harmed at no fault of their own.
Contact us for more information and to find out how our PCB Lawyers can help you.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly referred to as PCBs, are a group of man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms.
PCBs belong to a group of chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons, which include other highly toxic chemicals and industrial solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), vinyl chloride, and more.
Different types of chlorinated hydrocarbons are probable human carcinogens and are linked to several other health problems.
PCBs were employed in numerous products, such as transformers, capacitors, and electrical equipment.
PCBs were present in certain types of fluorescent light fixtures that were widely used in schools and other older buildings.
Given their chemical stability, PCBs do not readily break down and may remain for long periods cycling between air, water, and soil.
From the 1920s until bans took effect in the late 1970s, PCBs found favor in a wide array of industrial applications, primarily because of certain properties they exhibited.
The properties and features that made commercial PCB mixtures favorable in industrial applications include:
Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are organic compounds that are comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms.
Structurally, they have two phenyl rings (a six-sided carbon ring typical to many organic compounds) and can contain anywhere from one to ten chlorine atoms.
The number of chlorine atoms and their specific locations on the biphenyl molecule can vary, leading to a potential of 209 different PCB congeners (varieties).
PCBs were widely manufactured and used in various industrial applications due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, and electrical insulating properties.
Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were first synthesized in the late 1800s, but their commercial production began in the 1920s by Swann Chemical Company of St. Louis, MO.
Monsanto acquired Swann Chemical Co. in 1935, and began producing PCBs at a plant in Sauget, IL.
Over the subsequent decades, Monsanto became the principal producer of PCBs in the United States, under the trade name Aroclor.
By the late 1970s, however, growing concerns over environmental contamination and health risks led to strict regulations, and Monsanto ceased its production of PCBs in 1977.
According to documents from the Poison Papers Project and legal actions throughout the years, it has become evident that Monsanto was aware of the health and environmental dangers posed by PCBs well before the federal ban in 1979.
Despite this knowledge, the company continued to produce and market the chemical.
One revealing Monsanto document from 1969, found in the Poison Papers archive, acknowledges the environmental persistence and harmful effects of PCBs.
Within the document from 1969, Monsanto officials say that:
“…direct lawsuits are possible… [because] customers using the products have not been officially notified about known effects nor [do] our labels carry this information.”
Despite internal discussions regarding their potential liability and various courses of action, including discontinuing PCB production, Monsanto prioritized profits over public health and environmental safety.
PCBs were banned from manufacturing in the United States in 1979 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Despite this ban under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), many areas where PCBs were used or disposed of still exhibit high levels of these chemicals.
As a result, numerous lawsuits have been initiated, and actions have been taken to mandate the remediation and cleanup of contaminated sites.
Research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other organizations have highlighted the severe risks of exposure to PCBs.
PCBs accumulate in the environment and do not readily break down, posing long-term risks.
Here are general facts and insights relating to the dangers of PCBs:
Exposure to PCBs affect human health, and different types of exposure may increase the risk factors for people to be diagnosed with certain health effects related to these toxic substances.
Exposure to PCBs has been linked to several types of cancer in scientific studies.
Visit our page on PCB Health Effects to learn more.
Cancers linked to PCB exposure may include, but are not limited to:
Although PCBs are a probable human carcinogen, several other adverse health effects may be linked to exposure to PCBs.
Other health effects of PCB exposure may include:
The association between exposure to PCBs and adverse health effects has been displayed in several scientific studies.
Studies on the health problems linked to PCB exposure include, but are not limited to:
PCBs are known to be persistent organic pollutants.
These toxic substances not only pose risks to human health but also deeply impact environmental well-being.
Their resistance to breakdown means they linger in ecosystems, affecting land, air, and water resources.
Over time, PCBs accumulate in plants and animals, disrupting delicate ecological balances.
Water systems, particularly, face the brunt of PCB contamination.
Aquatic plants and animals can absorb PCBs, leading to detrimental effects on their health and reproduction.
As these PCB contaminated fish are consumed by predators (and sometimes humans), PCBs move up the food chain, resulting in bioaccumulation.
This process means that top-level predators, including certain fish species consumed by humans, can have alarmingly high levels of PCBs.
On land, soil contaminated with PCBs can adversely impact plant growth and the organisms that rely on that flora for sustenance.
One of the most concerning aspects of PCB contamination is its longevity.
Ecosystems may suffer the consequences for decades, if not longer.
PCBs can interact with other environmental pollutants, potentially amplifying harmful effects or creating new hazards altogether.
To protect both the environment and humans, understanding and addressing the pervasive issue of PCB contamination is extremely important.
Efforts to clean up contaminated sites and prevent further PCB release are crucial steps.
From 1929 to 1971, Monsanto Chemical Corporation, succeeding the Swann Chemical Company, produced polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Anniston, Alabama, leading to significant contamination of the local environment.
It was not until the 1990s and early 2000s that investigations shed light on the elevated levels of PCBs in residents and the environment.
These findings, along with documentation from the Anniston Community Health Survey, indicated that PCB levels in Anniston residents were substantially higher compared to the general public, with African-Americans bearing an even greater burden.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed the Anniston Community Health Survey (ACHS), presenting results of the survey in April 2008.
Scientific studies on the environment and health surveys on the Anniston, AL PCB contamination include:
Monsanto was aware of the detrimental health effects associated with PCBs, including links to hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers.
Yet, the company prioritized profits over the health and well-being of the Anniston community, perpetuating systemic racial and environmental injustices that still resonate today.
In 2013, nearly 85 years after PCBs were first used in the town, Monsanto subsidiary Solutia agreed to a $700m settlement to complete cleanup at the Anniston PCB Superfund Site.
PCBs have contaminated lakes, rivers, public waterways, soils, and the natural environment across the United States, leading to the establishment of Superfund sites by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A Superfund site is a designated area identified by the EPA as contaminated by hazardous waste and selected for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment.
PCB contamination has stemmed from both Monsanto’s industrial operations, as well as other companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse.
PCB Hazardous Waste and Superfund Sites include:
Several other Superfund sites for PCB contamination exist in the United States.
Our law firm is currently investigating potential litigation for those suffering from exposure to PCBs.
If you or a loved one were exposed to PCBs and subsequently developed health problems, you may be eligible to file a PCB Lawsuit claim.
Contact TorHoerman Law for more information.
You can also use the chatbot on this page for a free and instant case evaluation.
Reach out to us for more information.
We’re here to help.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are man-made chemicals that were once widely used in many products, especially for electrical work.
PCBs look like clear to yellowish oily liquids or waxy substances.
PCBs were banned in many places because they don’t break down easily and can harm our health and the environment.
Exposure to PCBs can happen in several ways:
A significant source of PCB exposure comes from old fluorescent lighting fixtures, which, when deteriorating or damaged, can release PCBs into the surrounding environment.
This can be particularly concerning in older buildings or schools where such fixtures haven’t been replaced, as children and faculty can be exposed for very long periods and come into skin contact with the chemicals.
PCB exposure can also occur through the ingestion of contaminated food, particularly when eating contaminated fish.
Fish that dwell in waters near hazardous waste sites or areas with improper disposal of commercial PCB mixtures often have elevated PCB levels.
When humans consume PCB-contaminated fish, they ingest these toxic substances, leading to a direct pathway of exposure.
Breast milk, due to its fat content, can also carry PCB congeners, leading to infants being exposed to PCBs during breastfeeding if the mother has been exposed.
This is especially true for mothers who have consumed PCB-contaminated fish or who live near hazardous waste sites where improper disposal of PCBs has occurred.
Several health effects have been linked to exposure to PCBs.
The International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) has labeled polychlorinated biphenyls as probable human carcinogens.
Certain health problems potentially linked to PCB exposure include:
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in a number of commercial and industrial products from the 1930s until the 1970s.
These products include, but are not limited to:
PCB Lawsuits for individuals exposed to these toxic substances in school settings are being investigated by our law firm.
Our law firm is currently investigating the use of old fluorescent lighting fixtures in St. Louis, MO area schools that contained high PCB levels.
If you or a loved one were exposed to PCBs in a St. Louis area school, you may be eligible to file a PCB Lawsuit claim.
Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation, or use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify to file a PCB Lawsuit claim.
Yes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are known to be cancer causing chemicals.
PCBs belong to a group of probable human carcinogens, with strong scientific evidence linking exposure to PCBs to a number of cancers.
Cancers reported in people exposed to PCBs include: