Re: PCB Who?

Some notes regarding the cheap or "get it free" transformers or capacitors
containing PCB (poly-chlorinated biphenyl) oils.

Electric utility companies and some capacitor manufacturers will gladly give
you a "free" transformer or high voltage capacitor if you drop by to pick
them up.  And, they will do it --- FREE.   So what's the catch?

There is a large local transformer company in our area.  I personally know
several EE's who have been "up to their elbows" in PCB oil many times.  The
danger isn't getting it on your skin.  The danger occurs if you ingest it.
It (dioxin) reacts with fat cells inside your body and stays there
permanently until the dioxin can begin to cause cancer --- but not in all
cases.  The big blowout for PCB 's came in Michigan when some farmer feed
some PCB contaminated products to his cows and then dozens of people who
drank the milk started coming down with similar types of cancer.

Again, the danger only resides when the PCB oil makes it's way into your
mouth, so you are probably ok if you don't start drinking it.  There are
presently arguments both pro and con regarding PCB oil, but this isn't the
real problem, at least not from the standpoint of the home TC builder.

The great danger with any PCB product isn't in it's handling, but in our
legal system.  If the EPA catches you with any cap or xmfr with PCB oil in
it they will come and dispose of it and then send you a nice fat bill for
"handling and disposing".  If you don't pay they can seize your bank
account, put liens on your property, etc.  This isn't the norm of course,
but  --- it has happened!!!

In one case I personally know of, a disgrunted spouse reported her "ex" to a
cop who then called the EPA.  In the end it cost him over $800 to dispose of
some PCB caps.  He had to ship them to Alabama paying all shipping and
disposal costs.

The moral of the story is:  It isn't really worth the risk of acquiring any
electrical transformer or capacitor that contains PCB oils because the legal
and disposal issues will cost you many time what the transformer or cap is

This is one fish that is best left swimming past your boat.


Dr. Resonance

-----Original Message-----
From: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
To: tesla-at-pupman-dot-com <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
Date: Sunday, September 05, 1999 3:38 AM
Subject: Re: PCB Who?

>Original Poster: Terry Greene <xray-at-cstel-dot-net>
>That sounds right.  Many old x-ray transformers have it in them. I and
>x-ray service guy I've ever known have been covered in the stuff many
>Some of these guys are now in their 60's and of the many I know, not one
>developed cancer or any other problem that might be related to PCBs.  I
>the governments risk assessment is over blown. Better safe than sorry. I'm
>advocating messing with the stuff, but I think it's a safe bet that you'll
>if you wash up good afterwards if you happen to get into some. :-)
>Tesla List wrote:
>> Original Poster: "Coiler" <mycroft-at-access1-dot-net>
>> Not so much a "thing" PCBs refer to a fire and oxidation retardant that
>> added to transformers in up to the 70's (I think, someone correct me)
>> PCB is Poly-Chlorinated Biphenol - and the bad JuJu comes from the fact
>> they break down to dioxins if I recall correctly.
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: Tesla List [mailto:tesla-at-pupman-dot-com]
>> > Sent: Thursday, September 02, 1999 4:17 AM
>> > To: tesla-at-pupman-dot-com
>> > Subject: PCB Who?
>> >
>> >
>> > Original Poster: Paul Gower <gower-at-cairns-dot-net.au>
>> >
>> > Hi all,
>> >          I was scouting around the other day trying to find a big
>> > transformer for a future tesla coil and it turns out that i can
>> > get 2 pole pigs for free :). Problem is that they are rather old and
>> > person I was talking to siad that they most likely contained PCB's. Ive
>> > heard that PCB's are bad juju but I'm not really sure what they are. Is
>> > there anyone who can explain just what a PCB is and what it could do to
>> > me?
>> >
>> >                                                 Thanx Heaps
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >