NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Finds No Increased Risk from Exposure to PCBs

March 11, 1999

Workers exposed to high levels of PCBs had no higher risk of cancer over a 31-year study period than similar groups within the general population, according to a new study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

  • PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls were used as insulating oils in power transformers until the chemicals were banned in 1979.
  • Previous studies have linked PCBS to cancer and other health problems; however, the new study is the largest and most extensive study of its kind.
  • Researchers looked at the health and death rate of 7,075 General Electric workers exposed to PCBs from 1946 to 1977 and found no higher risk of cancer among the workers.
"We now have lots of opportunities to study this, and we don't see an increased risk," commented Peter Shields of the National Cancer Institute.

Source: Robert Davis, "PCB Study," USA Today, March 9, 1999.


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