The Environmental Protection Agency announced its first approval of a chemical process designed to destroy PCBs, an industrial chemical banned as a potential cancer causer. The agency said the process produces no problem wastes and will be a significant step in the effort to dispose of about 750 million pounds of chemicals that are still in service or in storage thoughout the country.
Previous methods for destroying polychlorinated biphenyls involved incinerators that burn the chemicals or specially approved landfills where they have been dumped.
The production of PCBs was banned by Congress in 1977, but the government has had a continuing problem in finding ways to safely dispose of the millions of pounds that were in existence before the ban.
The EPA said the new system is mounted on a truck and is capable of removing PCBs from oil, which, once cleaned, can be reused.