In 1979, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the manufacture and most uses of PCBs. Subsequent rulemakings granted “use authorizations” to allow some PCB uses. More than 30 years later, EPA proposed to phase out remaining uses of PCBs in electrical equipment such as transformers, capacitors, and fluorescent light ballasts.
ERG has supported multiple facets of EPA’s analysis of various regulatory options, much of which focused on older PCB ballasts still found in schools, hospitals, and municipal and commercial buildings. Our economists constructed inventory models of the PCB equipment that remains in use and its baseline removal and replacement rates, then analyzed the incremental costs and impacts of alternative phase-out options. Our analysis included estimates of the benefits of accelerated phase-out due to avoided spills and leaks, as well as the savings from improved energy efficiency associated with the replacement equipment.