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EWG's Tap Water Database

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Forrest City Waterworks

PCBs are synthetic chemicals banned in the U.S. since the 1970s because of their toxicity. PCBs contaminate water by leaching from landfills and hazardous waste clean-up sites. PCBs increase the risk of cancer. Read More.

Up until the late 1970s, PCBs were used widely as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors and other electrical equipment. Currently, PCBs are widely detected in the general population. They build up and are stored in fatty tissues and fluids such as breast milk, and can be passed on to fetuses and infants during pregnancy and breast-feeding. In human epidemiological studies, PCBs have been associated with an elevated risk of breast and prostate cancers. Infants and children with higher PCB exposures during development score lower on measures of neurological function, ranging from decreased IQ scores to reduced hearing sensitivity. PCBs also affect hormones and damage the immune system.

 

12

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2010ND40ND
2011ND20ND
2012N/A00N/A
2013ND40ND
2014ND20ND
2015N/A00N/A

ppb = parts per billion.

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

Health Guideline 0.09 ppb

The health guideline of 0.09 ppb for PCBs was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

ppb = parts per billion.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 0.5 ppb

The enforceable federal standard that defines the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water.

ppb = parts per billion.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level Goal (MCLG)0 ppb

A non-enforceable federal health guideline. For cancer-causing chemicals, these health goals are typically set to zero.

ppb = parts per billion.

All test results

Date Lab ID Result
2010-07-2810210006106ND
2010-07-2810210006206ND
2010-11-1610321000906ND
2010-11-1610321000806ND
2011-05-2511146008006ND
2011-08-0311216000106ND
2013-08-2713241000206ND
2013-08-2713241000306ND
2013-11-0513310000806ND
2013-11-0513310000906ND
2014-04-2314114013806ND
2014-08-2714240000606ND