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PCBs

  • By: Christina Siry
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of synthetic chemicals that can have severe health effects on humans. There are many different types of human-made PCB molecules, but they have similar chemical structures, with the formula of C12 H10−x Clx. PCBs were once popular in industry because of their chemical stability, flame resistance, and insulating properties, and were used in a variety of manufactured products. Although there has been much public and legal attention given to their toxic nature, which has resulted in a ban on their production in many countries since the 1970s, PCBs endure in the environment. PCBs are classified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals. They are considered persistent because they remain in the environment for a long time and break down very ...

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