During the period of 1956 to 1973, it is highly likely that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used when buildings were built or renovated. PCBs are industrial chemicals that were used in joint compound (caulk) and floor screed. An ordinance came into effect in 2007 that required property owners to inventory and remediate (clean up/remove) PCBs if found in their property stock.
What is PCB?
PCBs are chemicals developed in the 1920s. Most commonly, PCBs are in the form of a thick, viscous liquid. PCBs have been used in electronic equipment and as softeners in plastics and caulk/joint compounds. When PCBs started to be used, they were a very popular material that worked well as flame retardants and as softeners for caulk/joint compounds, which retained their elasticity for a long time. Over the years, we became increasingly aware of the dangers associated with PCBs and their use was totally banned in 1995. The Swedish PCBs Ordinance enacted in 2007 imposes a clear requirement on property owners: a total inventory must be done. If PCBs are found, AF Bostäder must remove them. Many of AF Bostäder’s properties were built between 1960-1973. Our properties have all been inventoried and a report was submitted to the environmental protection admistration in 2010.
A clean-up usually involves a consultant or contractor to AF Bostäder cutting caulk/ joint compounds out of the property. This is a noisy job that is performed according to strict rules. The people performing the work must wear special equipment to protect them from long-term exposure.
When a joint compound clean-up is done, this often means that ground work – the remediation/clean-up of outdoor environments – must also be done. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has issued guidelines for the maximum concentrations of PCBs in the ground surrounding residential buildings. If the concentrations of PCBs are too high, the property owner must dig up and remove the soil.
If you have questions about work in progress or about PCBs, please contact Project Manager Peter Molin firstname.lastname@example.org, 046 - 19 15 41