On Dangerous Ground

On Dangerous Ground
On Dangerous Ground

TRY THIS AT HOME

Do not sand wood floors that were treated in the 1950s or 1960s with Fabulon finish. This finish may be an ongoing source of exposure to PCBs. These endocrine disrupting compounds affect thyroid hormone and the developing brain and are associated with breast cancer.

Silent Spring Institute researchers have found that wood floor finishes used in some homes during the 1950s and 1960s may be a persistent, important, and overlooked source of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Until they were banned in the 1970s because of their high toxicity, PCBs were widely used in industry, in construction, and in such domestic products as varnishes and caulks. PCBs have been associated with thyroid toxicity; effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems; and a number of cancers, including breast cancer.

The researchers caution that many structures, including schools and public buildings, may still harbor PCB-containing floor finishes. They believe that current exposure to these floor finishes may be even more critical to the toxic body burden of some people than their diet is.