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Environ Health Perspect. 1985 Feb;59:85-90.

Health status and PCBs in blood of workers exposed to PCBs and of their children.


A follow-up study of capacitor manufacturing workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their children was conducted since 1973. PCB levels in whole blood of workers as well as in breast milk of the exposed lactating mothers were approximately 10 to 100 times those of nonexposed Japanese. Blood PCB levels had a statistically significant correlation with the duration of PCB handling and breast milk PCB levels. The rate of decline of blood PCB levels, as well as the changes of the gas chromatograph of blood PCB over 7 years was found to vary with the kind of PCB handled. The levels of blood PCB tended to be higher in the children fed PCB-contaminated breast milk for a long period. The great majority of workers handling PCBs had dermatologic complaints. Discontinuance of contact with PCB led to gradual improvement of these lesions. Abnormal results in the blood chemistry of the workers were rare, while serum triglyceride concentration was significantly correlated with blood PCB levels in 1974. In the questionnaire study, the number of complaints in children born from mothers who had handled PCBs, especially those fed breast milk for a long period, was conspicuously higher than that in control groups. Several children were found to have the same medical findings as in yusho; however, they have not been diagnosed as PCB-poisoning, because these findings were neither so serious nor related to the blood PCB levels.

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