banned" PCBs, we left a loophole: PCBs are legal as contaminants.
Why does this matter? We're spending real money to clean up waterways like Puget Sound. But we allow PCBs at levels that matter in products like yellow paint.
Now you can probably see the toxic irony that moved me to take the picture on the left. We ask people not to dump, but the worn yellow paint is leaching PCBs into the Sound.
PCBs are hiding in plain view, and we knew that would happen
when we created the PCB loophole. But surprisingly, these contaminant PCBs are standing in the way of public health and a booming economy. Oops.
As we try to figure out how to get PCBs out of our waterways, contaminant PCBs are emerging as a big picture political problem. Big businesses are worried, governments are trying to manage, and heavy fish-eaters like First Nations outraged by the toxic contamination of their food. This loophole that once seemed tiny is emerging as a possible driver of important public policy debates.