Industry News




 

12/12/2013

Schools Face a Potential PCBs Threat From Dated Lighting Fixtures

EPA releases a management guide for PCB-containing fluorescent lighting fixtures.

 
Your fluorescent lighting fixtures may have ballasts that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

School administrators and maintenance personnel should take time to inspect fluorescent lighting fixtures as some may have ballasts that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The EPA has released information that provides guidance on what to do if this is the case.

Many older ballasts contain PCBs that can leak when the ballasts fail, leading to elevated levels of PCBs in the air of schools. While the elevated PCB levels should not represent an immediate threat, they could pose health concerns if they persist over time. Leaking ballasts must be removed and properly disposed of along with any part of the fixture that has been contaminated with PCBs. In schools across the country, most PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts have exceeded their life span and are beginning to leak and smoke.

More than 150 incidents of leaking or smoking ballasts have been reported to the EPA from New York and New Jersey schools over the past 15 months. PCBs may cause cancer and have been shown to cause a number of serious non-cancer health effects in animals, including effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

Prior to 1979, PCBs were commonly used as an insulator in ballasts. In 1979, the EPA banned the processing or use of PCBs, except in totally enclosed equipment. However, a large number of fluorescent light ballasts that were installed prior to the ban or that were stored and used after the 1979 phase-out, may contain PCBs and may still be in use in the U.S.

The most likely way that people are exposed to PCBs from the ballasts is through breathing PCB-contaminated air or by touching PCB-contaminated materials. When they remain in place, leaking ballasts can continue to release PCBs over several years and create elevated levels of PCBs in the air that students, teachers, and other school workers breathe. The EPA recommends removing PCB-containing ballasts from buildings as soon as possible to prevent exposure.

Removal of PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts, as part of lighting upgrades or a stand-alone project, is an investment that may pay off with long-term benefits to students, school staff, the community, and the environment. According to the EPA, a complete lighting retrofit eliminates the PCB hazards and increases energy efficiency by 30-50%.

Detailed information on the savings that may be achieved and potential funding that may be acquired through an investment in new lighting is available at the Energy Star website, which also provides information about funding that may be available for the replacement of old fixtures. For more information on PCBs in schools, see the EPA's guide.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 
11/25/2014

More executives choosing alternatives to LEED.

11/24/2014

EPA challenge to increase diversion rates for the holidays.

11/21/2014

Framework allows users a better look at roofing's environmental impact.

11/20/2014

Study finds paper towel dispensers carry far fewer germs.

11/19/2014

Tool will help manage information during power outages.

11/18/2014

Requirements include energy, IEQ, and sustainability updates.

11/17/2014

Group of 17 properties earn energy efficiency designation.

11/14/2014

Water conservation efforts see results.

11/13/2014

Study shows sustainable investments weather the winter.

11/12/2014

Standard focuses on occupant health.

11/11/2014

EPA says cleanup will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

11/10/2014

Methane will be used as a fuel source.

11/07/2014

ASTM to target roofing material diversion rates. 

11/06/2014

ORNL scientists look to the future of renewable energy integration.

11/05/2014

Lawsuits unlikely to convince polluters to change opposition to legislative reform. 

11/04/2014

Green building investment jumps in 2013. 

11/03/2014

Study shows difference between reported and measured occupant behavior

10/31/2014

Report shows energy modeling as key to improving building performance

10/30/2014

Report shows healthy features and practices yield results.

10/29/2014

USGBC announces two more years to prepare for LEED v4.

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