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In the period from 1947 to 1972, PCBs were used as plasticisers in a variety of adhesives (though primarily in chlorinated rubber and PVC copolymers) used in the manufacture of anti-corrosion coating products.
Chlorinated rubber paint contained up to 10 % PCBs. They were primarily used in anti-corrosion coatings for steel structures exposed to water (such as weirs, sluice gates and bridges). Products containing PCBs were used not only in priming coats but also in middle and top coats.
Due to the long life of these coatings, old paint coverings containing PCBs are still to be found to this day. As a result, chlorinated rubber coatings should be checked in advance of any renovation work to see if they contain any PCBs or heavy metals.
Corrosion protection work on surface areas exceeding 50 m2 is subject to the requirement to submit a report to the relevant cantonal authority. The removal of painted surfaces containing PCBs must be carried out using appropriate working methods and safety measures so that harm to workers and the environment caused by dust containing PCBs is kept to a minimum. Because of the risk of the formation of highly toxic dioxins and furans due to the effects of heat, the use of thermal processes (such as working with blowtorches) in the removal of old coatings containing PCBs is prohibited.
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