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Poly Chlorinated Biphenyl (RR)

Polychlorinated Biphenyls are a class of organic compounds with 1 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings. The chemical formula for PCB is C12H10-xClx, where x = 1-10 Polychlorinated Biphenyl, a synthetic, organic chemical once widely used in electrical equipment, specialized hydraulic systems, heat transfer systems, and other industrial products. PCB is highly toxic.

From 1929 to 1978 PCBs contaminated oil has been used in huge amount in the industry mainly it was used on transformer, voltage regulator, vacuum pump, lubricants oil etc. There are numerous health problem associated with people exposed directly to high levels of PCBs either via the skin by consumption or in the air, have experienced irritation of the nose and lungs, skin irritation and rashes, eye problems. PCBs cause developmental effect, Women exposed to PCBs before or during pregnancy can give birth to children with significant neurological and motor control problems, including lowered IQ and poor short term memory. PCBs disrupt hormonal function, PCBs lowered immune system. There are several Global and regional incidence out of PCBs contaminated oils used for various purposes.

In Nepal, there are over 107585.3  liters of PCBs contaminated oil stored in various part of the country even in the densely populated area of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and several other NEA repairs and maintenance workshops. This oil has been poorly stored and monitored and hence its volumes keep changing as it has been marketed to the welding workshops formally and informally. This need to be monitored and well recorded.  More than 90% of these oils contains over 50 ppm of the PCBs and remains contains less PCBs (MOE 2005, PCB inventory )

The PCBs contaminated oils has been massively used in Welding machine as fuel producing Furan like chemicals. Which is know carcinogen as well as Persistent Organic pollutants (POPs) under Stockholm Convention on  Persistent Organic Pollutant. To which Government of Nepal became party  in the year 2007.

PCB readily penetrate the skin and latex and they are very stable compounds which do not degrade readily. Their destruction by biochemical processes is extremely difficult, and presents the risk of generating extremely toxic dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans through partial oxidation. International degradation as a treatment of unwanted PCBs generally requires high heat or catalysis.

The toxicity associated with PCBs and other related hydrocarbons including polychlorinated pathlenes was recognized very early due to verity of industrial incidents. A conference about the hazards was organized at Havard School of Public Health in 1937 and a number of publications referring to the toxicity of various chlorinated hydrocarbons were published before 1940 Robert Brown reminded chemists in 1947 that Arochlors were "objectionably toxic. Thus the maximum permissible concentration for an 8-hr. day is 1 mg/m3 of air. They also produce a serious and disfiguring dermatitis".However, PCB manufacture and use continued with few restraints until the 1970s. PCBs, due to their low vapour pressure in the environment ,goes mainly in the hydrosphere. Then in the organic fraction of soil and in organisms. However , a small amount of PCBs have been found in the atmosphere from the most urbanized areas .

The most important and unaddressed issues so far and central focus of this present study is the use of PCBs contaminated transformer oils in the metal grill workshops welding machines. There are numerous welding workshops in almost every small and large cities using PCBs contaminated oils as fuel for their welding machines. Up on continuous heating, it gets heated thus produce cancer causing POPs gases named Furan into the atmosphere. The first and foremost exposure to the workers who works without any protective gears in the workshops. In addition to direct exposure to the welding workshop workers including child as well as female workers working at welding workshops, near by community also receiving high exposure to FURAN is aimed to address through this proposed research work.


Study of PCBs and their Impact on Health and Environment (A Case Study of Grill Workshop Workers))

The objective of the study is to find out the knowledge and practices about PCBs and PCB contaminated transformer oil heavily being used in the Welding Workshop as the coolant for their welding machine in almost all grill workshops in the Kathmandu Valley..
This is descriptive study and sample was collected by simple random sampling. Quantitative methods were used for data collection and analysis.
In order to obtain grill workers opinions regarding PCBs contaminated oil and their impact on health and on environment this research was conducted through the help of structured and pretested set of questionnaire.

The sample size of this study was 105 (about 10 percent of the grill workshops registered in the country) among the sample size around 30 percent of the respondents has more than 10 years of experience by being in the welding business. Around 15 percent of respondent were found the age group between 15-20.

The study found that only three percent of workers have heard about PCBs and only 14 percent of workers they know something about the impact of transformer oil on health and only eight percent of worker has knowledge about impact of transformer oil on environment. The study found only five percent has used personal protective gears while handling transformers oil. The findings of this research also revealed that in 49 percent of grill workshop`s workers are suffering from eye problems,  37 percent of grill workshop`s  workers are suffering from skin related disease and in two percent of grill workshop`s workers  have respiratory problems.