PCBs in caulk are commonly found around windows and doors and in expansion joints in buildings built or renovated between 1950 and 1977.
In order to determine whether the caulk contains PCBs, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following 4 steps:
- Review records about building construction, if available.
- Consider air testing to determine whether PCB levels in the ambient air exceed applicable EPA safety thresholds.
- Test caulk by collecting a representative sample and submitting it to a laboratory to determine the presence and concentration of PCBs.
- Test material near the caulk such as concrete, brick, wood and soil to determine if it contains PCBs which have leached out of the caulk.
Within the study area, each different type of suspect caulk should be identified and sampled based on its appearance and condition. While some caulk was manufactured with PCBs, other types of caulk had PCBs added during installation. As a result, the PCB concentration within each type of caulk may vary widely. Multiple samples of each type of suspect caulk may be needed to adequately characterize PCB concentrations.
Samples should be submitted to a laboratory for analysis of PCBs by EPA Method 8082. Extraction by the Soxhlet method is typically used within New England (EPA Region 1).