US EPA fines UCSD & UCLA for PCB violations

Unregistered electrical transformers at UCLA and UCSD

provided by US Environmental Protection Agency

he US Environmental Protection Agency last week fined the University of California $9,350 for failing to register three electrical transformers containing PCBs at its Los Angeles and San Diego campuses. In addition to paying the fine, the University of California will dispose of the old transformers and install replacements that do not contain PCBs.

    “PCBs are a highly toxic substance,” said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's regional Cross-Media Division director. “EPA is aggressively inspecting facilities to ensure compliance with 1998 federal requirements so we know where PCB transformers are located and how they are being handled.”

    This case was initiated after inspections found that two PCB transformers at UCLA and one PCB transformer at UCSD were not registered with the EPA. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act requires PCB transformer registration in order to track the use and proper disposal of such equipment. Records are required to document the condition of the equipment and warnings are required to ensure workers and the public are aware that a hazardous substance is present.

    PCBs are a man-made substance that were banned for production in the United States in 1978. Considered probable human carcinogens, PCBs have also been shown to cause a number of serious noncancer health effects in animals, including impacts on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system.

    This is the third of several enforcement actions the EPA is taking to encourage owners of PCB transformers to register and properly handle their equipment. In the past year, the EPA has also taken actions against Pacific Tube of City of Commerce, CA, and Nevada Cement Company of Fernley, NV, for similar PCB violations.

    Information on the UC case, and previous PCB transformer cases, can be found at: Visit for information on PCBs, as well as a list of companies that have registered PCB transformers.