Major Auto Manufacturers Applauded for Eliminating Toxic Chemicals

DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors have voluntarily eliminated PCB's from the environment.

The three major Midwest auto makers -- DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors, are being commended by EPA for their efforts to eliminate PCB's from the environment.

As part of the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, a strategy that challenges industry to volunarily find ways to reduce toxic chemicals, EPA asked the companies to reduce PCB's in electrical equipment by 90 percent, before 2006.

The companies were also asked to properly manage and dispose of PCB's to prevent accidental releases into the Great Lakes Basin.

PCB's are a group of toxic chemicals, once used in industry as coolants and lubricants.

EPA banned the manufacture of PCB's in 1979, because of evidence they accumulate in the environment and present health hazards for humans, fish and wildlife.

DaimlerChrysler began a $43 million program to eliminate all PCB electrical equipment from its facilities in 1989.

The company is now reporting a 100 percent reduction in PCB transformers and and a 99 percent reduction in PCB capacitors.

"Our success was possible because we recognized that there is both a significant business and environmental value to eliminating PCB's from our facilities," said James Lyijynen, vice president of stationary environmental affairs and energy for DaimlerChrysler.

In 1996, General Motors began its formal program to eliminate all high-level PCB transformers in the United States and Canada by 2000.

The company reports spending $28 million so far to remove and properly dispose of 298 transformers, which contain more than 3 million pounds of PCB's.

GM will meet its goal this year by replacing its remaining 400 transformers.

Similarly, Ford Motor Co. created a PCB phasedown program in 1995 to eliminate all PCB containing equipment globally by 2010.

It estimates that 95 percent of all PCB equipment in its facilities worldwide will be removed and properly disposed of by 2006.

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