Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of chemicals that were commonly used in electrical insulation and may be found in the window caulking of older buildings. Well-known supermodel, Cindy Crawford, is now taking issue with the presence of PCBs in the window caulking at her children s school and has decided to homeschool her kids to avoid them.
Crawford says, I look 10 years down the line. What if my kid, God forbid, had a problem? How could I live with myself, if I knew it was a possibility, and I still sent them to school there? I don t feel 100 percent safe.
However, Crawford does not have her facts straight. The truth is that the claims that PCBs disrupt the function of hormones in our bodies and can affect brain development in children or cause cancer are completely unfounded. PCBs have been associated with health effects in laboratory animals, but these effects were only seen at very high doses the dose makes the poison. And these high doses do not come close to the low levels to which humans may be exposed from such things as window caulking. Furthermore, even those workers who are exposed daily to PCBs show no statistically significant change in incidence of cancer or death from other causes. And there is no definitive research showing that PCBs have neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children. Even more relevant, the levels of PCBs in the environment today have been significantly reduced and there is little benefit to public health in continuing to investigate this class of chemicals.
The Environmental Protection Agency actually had a relevant point to make in the matter. In response to school officials saying that using federal EPA standards, our schools are safe for students and employees, the EPA agreed, saying the district s plan addresses the human exposure pathways of greatest concern, namely air, dust and soil. Until further problems are raised, EPA does not recommend additional testing of caulk.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom adds, It sounds like Cindy Crawford is someone who was taken out of school when she was a child especially from science class. She clearly has no idea what she s talking about, which should come as no surprise, given the typical wide spread idiocy that we hear whenever a celebrity opens his or her mouth.
To get the real facts about PCBs, read ACSH s publication on the subject.