Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Allison Luengen


Despite the potential neurological health deficits resulting from polychlorinated biphenyls, there is a lack of inhalation studies and regulations to protect students and teachers who are widely exposed to PCBs in older (1950 to 1979) schools. To estimate the extent of PCB detections in Los Angeles County schools, I applied a mathematical model to estimate the range of PCB detections in schools built between 1950 and 1984. I estimate the range of 17-34% PCB detections of open schools within Los Angeles County. Next, I reviewed exposure tools provided by the US EPA to bridge the uncertainty gaps between ingestion and inhalation studies available. I identified the following uncertainties: toxicity values derived from animal studies, data gaps related to weathered PCB congeners and Aroclors, and using extrapolated measures to minimize uncertainty gaps. Lastly, I completed an extensive literature review of toxicological health effects associated with PCBs that revealed liver toxicity and its relative harm to other organs and systems. Based on my findings, I have formulated six management recommendations: 1) quantifying PCB detections in LA County; 2) mitigating secondary sources; 3) identifying helpful inclusions for the upcoming EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) PCB assessment; 4) bridging the data gap for IRIS toxicity values; 5) complementing the data gap associated with weathered Aroclors; and 6) proposing a cleanup grant. By addressing these uncertainties, the general public, scientific community, and regulatory agencies may pursue in minimizing the adverse health risks associated with the lack of inhalation toxicity values and updated regulations.