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View Full Version : Pole transformer exploded - danger from burning transformer oil w/ pcbs?



Probedude
12-24-2008, 01:10 PM
Yesterday a pole transformer blew up across the street in my neighborhood.

Afterwards the transformer smoked then burned for maybe an hour and a half. Neighborhood was quite smelly from oil burning.

Hazmat came out that night, then Edison came and changed the transformer.
Today I see another Hazmat team showed up along with a special dumpster - I guess they've still got stuff to clean.

Anyone know what if any concern my family should have for smelling this burning transformer yesterday if the oil had PCB's in it? Neighborhood was built ~1964 and given the amount of detail they've given with the hazmat team I'm guessing PCB's were in the oil.

Dave

rgsgww
12-24-2008, 01:56 PM
I don't think there is much of a "pcb" concern. Those pole transformers rarely had any pcbs in them, mostly mineral oil, etc.

Even with the burning oil, you would have to be exposed to the oil, smoke, etc. for long periods of time and in high concentrations to have any health problems.

Hazmat came out because of the oil.

Speedy Petey
12-24-2008, 06:16 PM
You should probably move. :cool: ;)

cwhyu2
12-24-2008, 10:03 PM
pole transfomers have had no PCBs in long long time.

Thatguy
12-25-2008, 08:15 AM
Even if you and others have been put at risk for future illness, you might get the
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22not+enough+people+have+died%22&aq=f&oq=
answer, if you pursue this issue long enough.

And,
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22tombstone+agency%22&aq=f&oq=

Speedy Petey
12-25-2008, 08:42 AM
So what are you saying Thatguy? That even though it has been said that no PCBs were present there is still the possibility of future disease because of this one exposure to smoke????

Even if there were pcbs the level of exposure and exposure time were minuscule.

jwelectric
12-25-2008, 08:48 AM
Anyone know what if any concern my family should have Dave


Below is the result of something that went wrong with electrical transmission

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/in_pictures_chernobyl0s_lost_city/img/12.jpg

The power station, which rendered the town uninhabitable for centuries, looms on the horizon, two-and-half kilometres away. Photos by Phil Coomes


yes I would have concerns. You can see the full details and pictures of the city above by clicking here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/in_pictures_chernobyl0s_lost_city/html/1.stm)

Thatguy
12-25-2008, 08:52 AM
So what are you saying Thatguy? That even though it has been said that no PCBs were present there is still the possibility of future disease because of this one exposure to smoke????

Even if there were pcbs the level of exposure and exposure time were minuscule.
PCBs were "good" until we found that they were bad. This new xformer stuff will be good until we find it is bad.
When there is tissue cell damage on a molecular level it may take 20 years to show up.
I'm still waiting for the delayed effects of extensive cell phone usage to make themselves known (I don't have one).

I'm saying that, whatever the truth is, even if someone [or some computer model] knows what the truth is, the homeowner won't be told. Neither will the workers who are dealing with this stuff, daily.

By the way, if you ever looked at side effects for medicine: by the time you get down to the ". . .1% of the users may have. . ." level, the (mostly serious) side effects occupy a whole paragraph.
The less people have the side effect, the more side effects there are to have.

And, speaking of agencies as "protecting the public good", does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fit this guy's theory (theory in this sense meaning "a body of science")?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_(politics)
How 'bout the FDA? The SEC?

jimbo
12-25-2008, 08:57 AM
PCBs were "good" until we found that they were bad. This new xformer stuff will be good until we find it is bad.
When there is cell damage on a molecular level it may take 20 years to show up.
I'm still waiting for the delayed effects of extensive cell phone usage (I don't have one).

I'm saying that, whatever the truth is, even if someone [or some computer model] knows what the truth is, the homeowner won't be told. Neither will the workers who are dealing with this stuff, daily.

By the way, if you ever looked at side effects for medicine: by the time you get down to the ". . .1% of the users may have. . ." level, the (mostly serious) side effects occupy a whole paragraph.
The less people have the side effect, the more side effects there are to have.


Scientists have determined that the world is not a safe place to live. Religious leaders say "Get over it". Price of caves and treehouse to rise. Film @ 11:00.

Thatguy
12-25-2008, 09:40 AM
Scientists have determined that the world is not a safe place to live.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22mother%27s+milk%22+perchlorate&aq=f&oq=

Personally, I'm still waiting for the Seventh Seal to open. . .maybe next year. . .

Speedy Petey
12-25-2008, 12:42 PM
When there is tissue cell damage on a molecular level it may take 20 years to show up.
From one instance of smelling the smoke from a transformer that burned on a pole outside your house?????

I can see a fireman who is overcome by smoke and is rendered unconscious more than a few times in his career. Or someone who works with the nasty stuff for 20 years.
One instance of smelling smoke is absolutely a Chicken Little mentality. Like I said earlier, they should move far away from that home and don't tell the people buying it what happened. :rolleyes:

You ever smell the odor left behind when an old ballast burns up? I have. Many times. I've also unknowingly rubbed up against asbestos pipe insulation a few times.
If I die @ 85 from PCB absorption or asbestosis. I'll be sure to let you know you were right. :p

Probedude
12-25-2008, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the replies. Two of my neighbors works for Edison (and there are about 4 others that live in our development (odd there's that many but Edison does have a office/plant about 1/2 a mile down the road from me). I'll have to ask one of them if they know that the transformer had PCBs in it.

I'm not one that subscribes to silly fears, I'm the rational one in our family. The wife on the other hand - she's easily gets concerned over stuff that shouldn't be worried about. I'm just building up info for when she's told by someone else that there were BURNING pcb's in the air that day (the smell was pretty strong).

As far as "pole transformers have not had PCB's for a long time ", as I mentioned this tract was built in 1964 and I'm guessing the transformers are original. I know that the house I grew up in, that house was built in 1965, we moved into it in 1969 and I know that it never had the transformer replaced.

Found some info in this doc.
http://www.epa.gov/region8/toxics/pcb/pcbidmgmt.pdf

"Transformers, capacitors, fluorescent light ballasts, and cable
manufactured in the United States after July 2, 1979 should not contain PCBs."

That's not that long ago.

Thatguy
12-25-2008, 01:01 PM
From one instance of smelling the smoke from a transformer that burned on a pole outside your house?????

I can see a fireman who is overcome by smoke and is rendered unconscious more than a few times in his career. Or someone who works with the nasty stuff for 20 years.
One instance of smelling smoke is absolutely a Chicken Little mentality. Like I said earlier, they should move far away from that home and don't tell the people buying it what happened. :rolleyes:

You ever smell the odor left behind when an old ballast burns up? I have. Many times. I've also unknowingly rubbed up against asbestos pipe insulation a few times.
If I die @ 85 from PCB absorption or asbestosis. I'll be sure to let you know you were right. :p

The built-in maximum lifespan for humans is 85, so the cause of death at that point might be a matter of opinion.

I found an interesting thing, looking up mortality rates in the U.S. for a male smoker who worked with me. The text in parens is my opinion.
Nobody dies at 16 from smoking (they haven't done it long enough) and nobody dies at 90 from smoking (because they would have already died from it if they are going to). The maximum likelihood of death from smoking for males was at age ~45.

With us being in the last stages of civilization (apathy or dependence) and rocket fuel in mother's milk and global warming, we may already killed ourselves and we don't know it yet.
:D

cwhyu2
12-25-2008, 02:08 PM
Been exposed to all of the above,worked at the fernald urainum plant
for 8hrs and got a letter 6months later that they wanted to do complete
physical exam of and every thing I've been exposed to through out my
entire career in the building trades,this 30 yrs of stuff and found that
I am in good health for my age.50 plusyrs.:)

jimbo
12-25-2008, 03:03 PM
) and rocket fuel in mother's milk and global warming, we may already killed ourselves and we don't know it yet.
:D

Yeah, that global warming is gonna do it! How many places are experiencing record COLD this month. Did anyplace experience record WARM temps this summer?

Forget the rocket fuel. I AM worried about the melamine that China is sneaking in to everything they send us! Those bastards will get us, if the rag heads don't get us first!

Merry Bleeping Christmas!

GabeS
12-25-2008, 07:50 PM
that's all great if a giant asteroid doesn't smash into us. :eek:

alternety
12-30-2008, 02:45 PM
I rather suspect there are a large number of PCB filled transformers still out there. I don't believe there was a requirement to replace existing equipment and they don't replace until it breaks.

Replacing all transformers manufactured before 1979 would bankrupt the utilities.

Probedude
12-30-2008, 06:44 PM
I rather suspect there are a large number of PCB filled transformers still out there. I don't believe there was a requirement to replace existing equipment and they don't replace until it breaks.

Replacing all transformers manufactured before 1979 would bankrupt the utilities.

From what I could Google, this is true for Canada (or at least one jurisdiction) - it does not need to be replaced unless it is defective or fails.

What I couldn't find was a similar statement for the US, but I did see something about PCB's were never used to fill pole transformers. Lots of info out there that is contradictory.

Haven't talked to our Edison neighbors yet but we are going to the house of one of them for New Years Eve.

alternety
01-01-2009, 01:00 PM
I have always believed the old pole pigs had PCBs. Also oil filled capacitors of many sizes.

frenchie
01-01-2009, 04:40 PM
Yeah, that global warming is gonna do it! How many places are experiencing record COLD this month. Did anyplace experience record WARM temps this summer?

NYC set a new record high, about a week ago.

The first 2 pages of a google news search turned up record highs last week, for:

Dallas, Texas.
Louisville, Kentucky.
Denver, Colorado.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Providence, Rhode Island.
Lawrence, Kansas.
Coshocton, Ohio.
Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Morristown, Tennessee.

Not that any of this has any relevance whatsoever to Global Warming Theory - which is about global average temperature, not isolated single incidents cherry-picked to make political points.

Bill Arden
01-02-2009, 07:30 PM
The yellow transformer oil makes my skin ich for some reason. It's just a mineral oil with an additive, however it seems I am allergic to it.

and no I am not talking about PCB oil.

I would not worry about it since oil of all types are spilled or burned all the time.

alternety
01-04-2009, 09:35 PM
Oil with PCBs is a bit nastier than all of the other all types of oils. I really would not burn PCBs in a normal fire.

Redwood
01-05-2009, 10:59 AM
We're all gonna die!

It's a safe bet that it will happen before your 115th birthday!:eek: