Report On PCB Cleanup Options May Support EPA Proposal

EPA said the findings a National Academy of Sciences report\r\nsupport the agency's actions to clean up cancer-causing PCB waste.

EPA said the findings a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report support the agency''s actions to clean up cancer-causing PCB waste, particularly its recent proposal to dredge sections of the Hudson River in New York.

An executive summary of the NAS''s report details the scientific panel''s conclusions that PCBs may result in chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife, like cancer, reproductive and neurological diseases.

The report, which was commissioned by EPA and will not be finalized for months, does not specifically address the controversial action to dredge the Hudson, but instead offers an overview for managing the risks associated with PCBs.

PCBs -- polychlorinated biphenyls -- are synthetic organic compounds found in the air, water, sediments and soils around the world.

They were manufactured in the United States from 1929 to 1977, and were used in making transformers, adhesives, liquid-cooled electric motors and heat-transfer systems.

EPA last month proposed that General Electric spend $490 million to dredge PCBs from parts of the Hudson River, but the company said it would fight the project.

EPA''s decision is not final and subject to further review by the public and businesses.

EPA is calling for "targeted dredging" along a 40-mile stretch of the river near the sites of former GE factories north of Albany, N.Y.

The contamination there occurred between the mid-1940s and 1977 when GE factories discharged as much as 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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