The major problem is that 94% of America’s waterways sampled by EPA are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that do not degrade naturally in the environment. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of persistent, dangerous man-made chemicals. Developed in 1929, PCBs were used widely across the world in flame retardants of everyday goods, the insulating material in electrical equipment, such as transformers and capacitors, and also in heat transfer fluids and in lubricants. PCBs were finally banned in 1979, but the irreversible damage was done as every industrialized nation in the world used PCBs, finding its way into the land and waterways.
Even in present day, PCBs continue to be released into the environment through spills, leaks from outdated electrical and other equipment, and improper disposal and storage. It is estimated that more than half of the PCBs ever produced have been released into the environment causing worldwide damage into the multi-trillions of dollars as a result of poisonous waterways, unusable land, toxic fish, and human health risk and exposures causing disease. Current remediation methods are cost-prohibitive, pose significant health threats to humans, wildlife, and the environment, and in many cases fail to permanently eliminate the contaminants – often producing toxic by-products when incinerated.
PCB contamination has been linked to human cancer as well as liver dysfunction, digestive disorders, chloracne, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. PCBs can also affect the respiratory, immune, nervous systems and cause a variety of reproductive disorders, including male sterility, developmental abnormalities, learning disorders and birth defects.