Toxin found in wood floor finishes

JANUARY 17, 2008óA banned toxin linked to cancer has been found in a wood floor finish popular in the 1950s and 1960s, researchers in the United States reported Wednesday.

In a case study of older women’s homes, researchers found the wood floor finish known as Fabulon continues to disperse dangerous PCBs even 50 years after the floors were installed.

“Use of a commercially available PCB-containing wood floor finish in residences during the 1950s and 1960s is an overlooked but potentially important source of current PCB exposure in the general population,” Ruthann Rudel of the Silent Spring Institute said in the report.

The health risk goes well beyond the 120 homes in the survey as Fabulon was used in many buildings, including schools, built during that era.

The research focused on the homes and bodies of 120 women living in Cape Cod, Mass., who took part in a breast cancer study.

Researchers reported that PCBs were found in the indoor air of 31 percent of those women’s homes. Further blood tests showed that PCB levels exceeded the 95th percentile for the population of the United States.

In 1977, the United States banned production of PCBs after studies linked PCBs to immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine system damage. The toxin is also a suspected cause of breast cancer.

By Care2 editorial staff