Fluorescent Light Ballasts
Light ballasts are the primary electric components of fluorescent light fixtures and are generally located within the fixture under a metal cover plate. The ballast units are generally composed of a transformer to reduce the incoming voltage, a small capacitor (that may contain PCBs) and possibly a thermal cut-off switch or safety fuse. PCB were used as liquid insulators in electronic equipment. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of PCBs in 1979.
When a ballast unit fails, it creates a characteristic foul odor. When replacing the ballasts check the label. If label says “No PCB’s” the ballast can be recycled or disposed of by Building & Grounds appropriately. If label does not say “No PCB’s” assume that it could contain PCB’s. If you find any leaking or non-leaking ballasts without the “No PCB’s” designation please contact Robert Clay, Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer at 681-5694 or Clayr2@lincolnu.edu for assistance.