Polychlorinated biphenyl; any of a family of industrial compounds produced by chlorination of biphenyl, noted primarily as an environmental pollutant that accumulates in animal tissue with resultant pathogenic and teratogenic effects.
|PCB (pē'sē-bē') Pronunciation Key
Short for polychlorinated biphenyl. Any of a family of very stable industrial compounds used as lubricants, heat-transfer fluids, and plasticizers. The manufacture and use of PCBs has been restricted since the 1970s because they are very harmful to the environment, being especially deadly to fish and invertebrates, and stay in the food chain for many years.
any of a class of organohalogen compounds prepared by the reaction of chlorine with biphenyl. A typical mixture of PCBs may contain over 100 compounds and is a colourless, viscous liquid. The mixture is relatively insoluble in water, is stable at high temperatures, and is a good dielectric (electrical insulator). Because of these qualities, PCBs are particularly useful as lubricants, heat-transfer fluids, and fire-resistant insulating fluids in transformers and capacitors.
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