Archived Announcements

New and Improved Testing for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of synthetic organic chemicals that were once used as heat-exchangers, fluids for transformers and capacitors, and additives to paints and sealants, among other things. Although PCBs were banned in the U.S. in 1979, there is continued concern about their persistence in the environment and accumulation in wildlife and the animal food chain. Detectable concentrations in human blood are still present in the general population.

PCBs were manufactured and sold as mixtures of many similar compounds. Each individual PCB chemical is called a congener, while the mixtures in which they were sold are called Aroclors. As techniques have become more sensitive and specific, testing has evolved to look for specific PCB congeners rather than Aroclor mixtures. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Canada have conducted studies of general populations by testing for individual congeners. NMS Labs improved its testing procedures based on these studies to report congener-specific values with defined normal ranges.

3371SP PCB Panel, Congeners, Serum/Plasma

This new test reports numeric values for 11 individually selected congeners. It includes NHANES and Health Canada population data to assist in the interpretation of results for each congener. These meaningful reference comments help to easily define normal ranges. The focus is on the 95th percentile population value as the point of differentiation between normal and abnormal concentrations.

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