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PCBs AND THE ENVIRONMENT

 Life is a precious element to a broad range of creatures. When a chemical toxin invades life's environment, we should all be concerned. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of chemical compounds that are invading and polluting the environment. They cause severe health problems in humans and affect many creatures in nature. Scientist found high PCB levels in two orca whales that washed up dead last February near the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Ko, 2002). The United States Environmental Protection Agency claims they are quick to act on all PCB discoveries, but it may be too late. There are some remedies to remove PCBs from the environment, but it doesn't take care of the entire problem.

             Polychlorinated biphenyls are a group of chemicals compounds that have no molecular breakdown. They were used by the industrial manufacturing industry between 1930-1970. They were primarily used as electrical insulators in transformers and other electrical equipment. They were also used in a variety of products such as: power saws, typewriters, cereal boxes, and bread wrappers (Heimlich, 2002). They were released into the environment during their use by smokestacks, leakage of old equipment, leaching from landfills, and other polluted sediments. In 1976 after growing concerns and findings of high levels of PCBs in the environment; Congress banned all uses including the processing and distribution of PCBs (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2002).
             These chemicals have filtered into every aspect of the environment. It has seeped into the soil and been carried down streams into our oceans. The toxic effects of PCBs include the death of animals, low growth rate in plants, and severe health problems in humans (Heimlich, 2002). According to an EPA study that was completed in 1987; chronic exposure to PCBs can cause cancer .