Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

An Unfortunate Convergence: PCBs and Mid-Century School Construction

May 2021 Bar Bulletin

By Paul J. Sadin

Over the past decade, scientists, pollution-prevention agencies, and litigants gave increased scrutiny to new classes of hazardous chemicals in our environment, such as those in the category of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Attention to new contaminants, however, should not suggest that threats from “old-school” hazardous materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been addressed and eliminated. In fact, even though federal laws restricting the use of PCBs are now 40 years old, new threats from PCBs continue to emerge.

Since the late 1990s, studies have revealed the presence of hazardous concentrations of PCBs in previously overlooked or unrecognized places. Most notably,...

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