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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


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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10/29/2014

USGBC announces two more years to prepare for LEED v4.

10/28/2014

Current projects could replace up to 8% of the Army’s energy use.

10/27/2014

Report shows increased occupant engagement in offices with green features.

10/23/2014

Study shows seven key areas to increase worker engagement. 

10/22/2014

New rule aims to eliminate the production of HCFC refrigerants. 

10/21/2014

U.S. photovoltaic costs continue to decline.

10/20/2014

The EPA looks to help improve energy and air quality during educational facility renovations. 

10/17/2014

Agency says current regulations "don't protect worker health".

10/16/2014

Scientists have developed LED bulbs free of rare earth metals.

10/15/2014

Survey shows a decrease in employees coming to work sick.

10/14/2014

New efficiency ratings available for apartment units

10/10/2014

New code to increase commercial building efficiency.

10/09/2014

Take charge of your electricity bill with these quick tips.

10/08/2014

Illumination improvements take the top award for physics

10/07/2014

Study shows equipment improvements could boost efficiency. 

10/06/2014

New device integrates batteries into solar cell design.

10/03/2014

The switch to green products comes to healthcare facilities.

10/01/2014

Photovoltaic installations serve nearly 2.7 million students

09/30/2014

Incidence of fires and property loss down from 2012

09/29/2014

Academic achievement tied to responsible reporting habits

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