Researchers from the University of Iowa have revealed that some kitchen cabinets emit polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) – chemicals that are known to cause cancer
The kitchen cupboard may be your go-to place when looking for a snack, but it could have a more sinister side, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Iowa have revealed that some kitchen cabinets emit polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) – chemicals that are known to cause cancer.
The dangerous compounds are unwanted byproducts of sealant breakdown in modern kitchen cabinets, according to the researchers.
PCBs are known to cause cancer and their manufacture has been banned in the US since 1979.
But the chemicals tend to stick around in t he environment, meaning they can still be found in various places, including offices, homes and schools.
In the study, the researchers measured the concentrations of PCBs inside 16 homes over a six week period.
Their analysis revealed that levels of three types of PCB (PCB-47, PCB-51 and PCB-68) were much higher than expected.
The concentrations seemed to depend on the year the house was built, with higher levels in more recent years.
Additionally, after testing the emissions from a variety of household items, the researchers found the PCBs seemed to waft off the finished kitchen cabinetry.
The researchers suspect that the substances come from the decomposition of 2,4-dichlorobenzoyl peroxide – a common ingredient in modern cabinet sealants.
In their study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers, led Nicholas Herkert, wrote: “It is difficult to address the direct potential effects of these potent neurotoxic congeners in the context of our study as we do not yet fully understand the fate and toxicities of inhaled PCB.”