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Potential Harm and Identifying Ballasts
Potential harm:

The EPA has classified all PCBs as probable human carcinogens. Some long-term health effects include hormone disruptions, respiratory tract symptoms, mild liver effects and immune system suppression.  
What are PCBs?:

PCBs are a class of man-made chemicals that were used in many different types of products including hydraulic fluid, casting wax, pigments, and carbonless copy paper. PCBs are stable and resistance to thermal breakdown, which made them the choice for electrical transformers and capacitors. In many cases, because of their fire resistance, they were required by some fire codes.
Identifying PCB light ballasts:

If the school has not undergone a lighting retrofit prior to 1979, it may have PCB-containing light ballasts. The first step in identifying these ballasts is to conduct a visual inspection. This entails actually removing the fixture so that the ballast is exposed. To avoid possible exposure if leaking ballasts are present, wear protective clothing, gloves and masks while the survey is taking place. PCBs are found only in magnetic ballasts, so if your ballasts are electronic, they do not contain PCBs.

Usually a leak takes one of two forms, an oily liquid or a tar-like substance, or the liquefied material. Of the two, the oil contains higher levels of PCBs than the potting material, and is more dangerous. Both should be handled by professionals and with extreme caution.
PCBs and Oregon Schools

Removal and Disposal

Finding a Contractor