Agent Name

Polychlorinated biphenyls

Alternative Name


CAS Number


Major Category

Other Classes


PCBs; 1,1'-Biphenyl, chloro derivs; Aroclor; Biphenyl, chlorinated; Biphenyl, polychloro-; Chlophen; Chlorextol; Chlorinated biphenyl; Chlorinated diphenyl; Chlorinated diphenylene; Chloro 1,1-biphenyl; Chloro biphenyl; Clophen; Dykanol; Fenclor; Fenclor 42; Inerteen; Kanechlor; Montar; Monter; Noflamol; PCB; PCB's; PCBs; Phenochlor; Phenoclor; Polychlorobiphenyl; Polychlorobiphenyls; Pyralene; Pyranol; Santotherm; Santotherm fr; Sovol; Therminol; Therminol fr-1; [ChemIDplus] UN2315


Halogenated Polyaromatics


Forms range from oily liquids, to white solids, to sticky resins, depending on chlorine content; [HSDB] Colorless to yellow-green oily to viscous liquid, white crystalline solid, or sticky to hard resin; [MSDSonline]


Used in electrical capacitors, electrical transformers, vacuum pumps, and gas-transmission turbines; Formerly used in the U.S. as hydraulic fluids, plasticizers, adhesives, fire retardants, wax extenders, pesticide extenders, inks, lubricants, cutting oils, and heat transfer media; [HSDB]


See "Chlorodiphenyl (42% chlorine)" and "Chlorodiphenyl (54% chlorine)." See "3,4,5,3',4'-Pentachlorobiphenyl." According to the 2016 IARC monograph (Volume 107) on page 425, there were seven occupational cohort studies, and "Excess risks of melanoma were reported in all studies except one." According to Tables 2.2 and 2.3, the relative risks and confidence intervals for melanoma were: Yassi 1.8 (0.2-6.4); DeGuire 3.0 (0.6-8.8); Tynes 1.1 (0.7-1.8); and Loomis 1.29 (0.84-1.98). A population-based case-control study in Canada entitled "Plasma levels of polychlorinated biphenyls and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma: a preliminary study" was considered by IARC as among "the most important evidence." See "Polychlorinated biphenyls and cancer: an epidemiological assessment." [PMID 23672403]

Reference Link

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), thyroid hormones and cytokines in construction workers removing old elastic sealants.

Exposure Assessment
Explanatory Notes

Flash Point > 286 deg F; [CAMEO]

Flammability (NFPA)

1: Must be preheated

Adverse Effects

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

Reproductive Toxin




IARC Carcinogen

Known Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Anticipated Human Carcinogen

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent: