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Fabulon: Looking less fabulous

Researchers have tentatively linked polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in people—and their dwellings—with Fabulon, a product used throughout the late 1950s and 1960s as a durable top coat for hardwood floors.

During a survey of 120 homes on Cape Cod, Mass., researchers found two houses with unusually high PCB concentrations in air and house dust. Residents in both homes remembered a sealant that had been applied decades earlier to their floors, notes Ruthann A. Rudel of the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass. Research by her team turned up the PCB-laden recipe for Fabulon, which one resident remembered using.

Best known as oily insulating compounds used in electrical transformers, PCBs have been linked with reproductive harm in animals and IQ losses in children.

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