Blood Serum Levels of PCBs and PCDFs in Yucheng Women 14 Years After Exposure to a Toxic Rice Oil
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In 1979, a mass poisoning of more than 2000 people occurred in central Taiwan due to consumption of rice-bran oil contaminated with PCBs and their heat-degraded byproducts. The incident was later referred to as Yucheng (oil disease). Serum samples from 56 women with the 1979 exposure were collected in February 1992 and analyzed for their contaminant content using sample enrichment and isotope dilution mass spectrometry. In most of the samples, levels of PCDFs and PCBs were detectable, and the median values of 2,3,4,7,8-PCDFs and 1,2,3,4,7,8-PCDFs were 1,030 and 2,220 ng/kg serum lipid, respectively. The median level of the total PCBs on a whole weight basis was 8,730 ng/kg. The PCB/PCDF concentrations in Yucheng women 14 years after the toxic exposure were still one to two orders of magnitude higher than controls. Concentrations of PCB levels in 1992 were positively correlated with the 1980–1981 measured PCB levels in these women and both PCBs and PCDFs were negatively correlated with the total duration when these women breast fed their children between 1979 and 1992. It is concluded that serum levels of congener-specific PCBs/PCDFs in exposed women are good indicators of previous exposure and may provide important information for more reliable estimation of dose-response relationship.
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