Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Open Systems in Lithuania
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative substances that have been included into the Stockholm Convention due to their hazardous properties. While large efforts have been made in the past decades to phase-out closed systems containing PCBs, open systems have received much less attention. In Lithuania, too, transformers and capacitors (closed systems) have already been inventoried and mostly collected and destroyed, but PCBs in open systems, mainly in buildings, have not been investigated. Therefore, this article presents estimates of probable PCB amounts and distribution in buildings in the country. According to theoretical calculations, about 1,900 t of PCBs could be brought into Lithuania and used in closed, partially closed and open systems. It is most probable that PCBs under the trade name Sovol, produced in Russia, constituted the majority of PCBs in open systems, i.e. some 400 t. There are about 8,600 apartment houses and 51,950 various public buildings with a big probability to contain PCBs. One such building could contain up to 6.6 kg of PCBs.