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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

United Water Pennsylvania

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.

 

36

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012N/A00N/A
2013N/A00N/A
2014ND40ND
2015N/A00N/A
2016N/A00N/A
2017ND320ND

ppb = parts per billion

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EWG Health Guideline 0.09 ppb

The EWG 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.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 0.5 ppb

The legal limit for PCBs, established in 1991, was based on analytical detection limits at the time that the standard was set. This limit may not fully protect against the risk of cancer due to PCB exposure.

ppb = parts per billion

All test results

Date Lab ID Result
2014-05-062005037001ND
2014-05-062005037002ND
2014-08-042021302001ND
2014-08-042021302002ND
2017-05-1516211407ND
2017-05-1516211437ND
2017-05-1516211438ND
2017-05-1516211439ND
2017-05-1516211440ND
2017-05-1516211441ND
2017-05-1516211442ND
2017-05-1516211443ND
2017-05-1516211406ND
2017-05-1516211405ND
2017-05-1516211399ND
2017-05-1516211435ND
2017-05-1516211401ND
2017-05-1516211402ND
2017-05-1516211403ND
2017-05-1516211404ND
2017-08-0716683151ND
2017-08-0716683152ND
2017-08-0716683153ND
2017-08-0716683154ND
2017-08-0716683155ND
2017-08-0716683156ND
2017-08-0716683121ND
2017-08-0716683120ND
2017-08-0716683119ND
2017-08-0716683118ND
2017-08-0716683117ND
2017-08-0716683116ND
2017-08-0716683115ND
2017-08-0716683113ND
2017-08-0716683149ND
2017-08-0716683157ND