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EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AK12 Publication ID: Fall 2016 
Title: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Reassessment of Use Authorizations for PCBs in Small Capacitors in Fluorescent Light Ballasts in Schools and Daycares 
Abstract: The EPA's regulations governing the use of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in electrical equipment and other applications were first issued in the late 1970s and have not been updated since 1998. The EPA has initiated rulemaking to reassess the ongoing authorized use of PCBs in small capacitors. In particular, the reassessment of the use authorization will focus on the use of liquid PCBs in small capacitors in fluorescent light ballasts. A separate Regulatory Agenda entry (RIN 2070-AJ38) addresses the proposed reassessment of other PCB use authorizations. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: State, local, or tribal governments 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 761   
Legal Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2605 Toxic Substances Control Act   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date

Statement of Need:

Since the commercial manufacture of PCBs in the United States ceased in the 1970s, PCB-containing equipment is at least 30 years old and may be nearing the end of its expected useful life. Several international treaties have recognized the hazards of PCBs and the risks they pose to human health and the environment. EPA has recently learned that there was widespread use of PCBs at levels at or above 50 ppm, prior to the 1979 TSCA ban, in the formulation of caulk used in schools and other commercial buildings. In the current regulations PCBs are excluded from the TSCA ban only if found below 50 ppm. Thus, many schools and other building owners are now facing an unauthorized use of PCBs that has been present in their buildings for many years. This ANPR will solicit comment as to whether the current threshold of 50 ppm should be revised so that PCBs in caulk found at other levels could be authorized for use and, if so, under what conditions. EPA is required to make a finding that the authorized use will not present an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. Needless to say, many changes have taken place in the industry sectors that use such equipment, and EPA believes that the balance of risks and benefits from the continued use of remaining equipment containing PCBs may have changed enough to consider amending the current regulations.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

TSCA section 6(e)(2)(A) provides that "no person may manufacture, process, or distribute in commerce or use any polychlorinated biphenyl in a manner other than in a totally enclosed manner" after January 1, 1978. However, TSCA section 6(e)(2)(B) provides EPA with the authority to issue regulations allowing the use and distribution in commerce of PCBs in a manner other than a totally enclosed manner if the EPA Administrator finds that the use and distribution in commerce "will not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment." EPA published the first regulations addressing the use of equipment containing PCBs on May 31, 1979.


Alternatives will be developed as part of the development of a proposed rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The EPA will prepare a regulatory impact analysis as part of the development of a proposed rule.


PCB exposures can cause significant human health and ecological effects. The EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have characterized some commercial PCB mixtures as probably carcinogenic to humans. In addition to carcinogenicity, potential effects of PCB exposure include neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, immune system suppression, liver damage, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption. PCBs persist in the environment for long periods of time and bioaccumulate, especially in fish and marine animals. PCBs are also readily transported across long distances in the environment, and can easily cycle between air, water, and soil.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  01/00/2017 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:  
Sectors Affected: 31-33 Manufacturing; 811 Repair and Maintenance; 92 Public Administration 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Peter Gimlin
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 7404T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-0515
Fax:202 566-0473

Erik Winchester
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 7404T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 564-6450