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Whither PCBs? The Story from the Lab to the Hudson River and Beyond


by Bill Chameides | December 3rd, 2009
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

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PCBs were widely used during the 20th century until it was realized they posed serious health threats. Bans stopped their use, but their presence remains. In 2009 GE began dredging PCBs from the Hudson. Dean Chameides has the backstory.

You’ve probably heard about fish contaminated by PCBs. Here’s the story of how the pollutant got to the fish and what’s being done to try to rid PCBs from one of our prized waterways.

Last month General Electric wrapped up the first phase of its effort to remove large swaths of contaminated sediment from the Hudson River. It’s a project that has been many years in the making — nearly a full century, if the discovery and manufacture of PCBs are taken into account.

In our video Dr. Bill Chameides gives the PCB backstory from the lab to the manufacturing plant. Then Duke alumnus David Rosoff picks up the story, giving an overview of the Hudson River dredging project, A to Z.

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