Menu

EWG's Tap Water Database

Donate

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

City of Flint

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.

 

8

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2010ND10ND
2011ND10ND
2012ND10ND
2013ND20ND
2014ND30ND
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
2010-11-05LLD59541ND
2011-12-02LLE11088ND
2012-07-29LLE35013ND
2013-01-18LLE61821ND
2013-07-18LLE83917ND
2014-05-22LLF19430ND
2014-08-06LLF31222ND
2014-10-28LLF44687ND