PCBs, or Polychlorinated Biphenols are a substance once used in electrical
equipment as a coolant. Transformers and capacitors used PCBs because they
dissipated heat well and had good insulating qualities as a dielectric fluid.
However, PCBs were later recognized to have health hazards towards humans and
animals, some studies linking PCBs with cancer. PCB contamination of the
Hudson River associated with electrical equipment manufacturing lead to certain
parts being designated as a Superfund site (a contaminated area slated for
clean-up by the Environmental Protection Agency). Because of high PCB levels in
the river in the past and its impact on fish and wildlife, fishermen at one time
refrained from eating striped bass caught in the region. When vessels are slated for
scrapping, hazardous substances such as asbestos, acids, boiler chemicals,
lubricating oils, polychlorinated biphenols, and carcinogenic solvents such as
benzene are generally removed. To read about a lawsuit involving the EPA's power
to inspect a vessel suspected of containing PCBs,
click here.











































































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PCBs
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The Hudson River had seen high levels
of PCBs due to electrical equipment
manufacturing. A species that was
affected was the striped bass.