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Replacement of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and HCB (hexachlorobenzene): the Swedish experience
University of Kalmar, School of Pure and Applied Natural Sciences.
1996 (English)In: Alternatives to persistent organic pollutants: the Swedish input to the IFCS expert meeting on persistent organic pollutants in Manila, the Philippines, 17-19 June 1996, Solna: Kemikalieinspektionen , 1996Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The total import to Sweden of PCB between 1957-1980 has been estimated to 8,000-10,000 metric tonnes. A substantial part of the import, probably more than 50% was re-exported in goods. The use of PCB in Sweden has been restricted since 1972, and in 1978 it was decided that no new permits to use PCB in new products should be issued. Remaining part in the power sector of the industry has also been removed. Transformers or capacitors containing PCB and with a higher rating than two kilovoltamperes (reactive) may not be used after the 31st of December 1994.

PCB containing transformers were never manufactured in Sweden. The problem with PCB filled transformers and contaminated transformer oils has therefore been less severe, compared to many other industrialized countries. The main chemical alternative to PCB in transformers is mineral oil with different additives.

PCB was used in the manufacture of capacitors in Sweden before 1978. The use for this purpose accounted for about 80% of the import of PCB. Chemical alternatives for PCB as capacitor fluid include a multitude of chemical compounds. The capacitor fluid most frequently used today in Sweden is a mixture of methyl(phenylmethyl)benzene and methylbis(phenylmethyl)benzene.

PCB was used in different building materials as a plasticiser. Chemical alternatives include chlorinated paraffins and phthalates. Chlorinated paraffins are however replaced due to environ-mental concerns, and it has also been decided to phase out the phthalates. Substantial amounts of PCB, an estimated 190-650 metric tonnes, still remain in buildings. It is obvious that measures to deal with these problems may cost many times more than the replacement already accomplished.

Destruction capability and capacity are keys to a successful and final solution to the PCB problem. The destruction cost is also the major cost factor in the replacement. 17,667 metric tonnes of PCB containing waste was received by SAKAB, the Swedish hazardous waste treatment plant, between 1987-1995. This gives an idea of how much PCB wastes that have to be handled.

Minor amounts of HCB (hexachlorobenzene) has been used in some parts of the Swedish industry. HCB has not been manufactured in Sweden and previous use has been replaced. Estimates of the international production are contradictory. It therefore seems premature to neglect HCB as an organic micro-pollutant of environmental concern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Solna: Kemikalieinspektionen , 1996.
Series
Rapport från Kemikalieinspektionen, ISSN 0284-1185 ; 96:4
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Science, Environmental Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hik:diva-1526ISBN: 9923050106 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hik-1526DiVA, id: diva2:214063
Available from: 2009-05-01 Created: 2009-05-01 Last updated: 2010-03-10Bibliographically approved

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