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Gesundheitswesen. 2005 Nov;67(11):809-19.

[10-year PCB Guideline--attempt to balance hygienic and medical/environmental-toxicological views].

[Article in German]

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Hygiene-Institut des Ruhrgebiets, Gelsenkirchen.



In 1995 a guideline was established in Germany, which requires the remediation of buildings with elevated indoor air concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). The action limit is 3000 ng/m(3). The tolerable PCB indoor air concentration is 300 ng/m(3). The aim of remediation actions is to reduce PCB in indoor air to levels < 300 ng/m(3) by removing the sources of PCB in buildings (mainly sealants, ceiling plates, wall colours). Based on this guideline a great number of school buildings, university buildings and administration buildings constructed in the 1960-ties and 1970-ties were renovated. In this paper, the toxicological basis of the aforementioned guide values are discussed. Furthermore, recent papers and proposals to establish lower guideline values for PCB in indoor air are discussed.


The existing PCB guideline should be revised. When revising the guide values for PCB in indoor air it should be kept in mind that human PCB exposure is mainly via food, that PCB intake via food has been declining since more than 20 years, and that there is only a minor increase of PCB blood levels following inhalation of PCB in indoor air. In public discussions it should be clearly stated that remediation of PCB contaminated buildings is a preventive action. PCB concentrations in indoor air, which are associated with significant health risks, are presumably much higher than the current action value.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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