WHAT DANGERS DO TRANSFORMERS PRESENT?
HUMAN and ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD OF DIELECTRIC OILS
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What dangers do transformers present?
Transformers--not something most of us think about--can hold potential hidden dangers. Industry analysts report that transformer failures are common, and costly.
When transformers fail eventfully, our environment can suffer. Petroleum-based mineral oil spills are harmful to our environment, and are therefore highly regulated at both the state and federal levels. Due to their lower biodegradation rate, certain compounds of mineral oil can persist in the environment for up to decades.
In addition, some petroleum-based mineral oil in use today may contain materials identified by the EPA as a confirmed carcinogen.*
*While today's mineral transformer oils are highly refined, there are hundreds of millions of gallons in existing older transformers that contain significant quantities of polynuclear aromatics. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Report EPA 600/R-02/042, the primary component of this mineral oil-based transformer fluid was a hydrotreated light naphthenic petroleum distillate, ranging from 30 to 100 percent. is not a colour additive, present at less than 0,5%. Due to this content, such oil "was identified in Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) No. 6472-53-6 as an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRAC) confirmed carcinogen based on experimental data for animals."