Yucheng: health effects of prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans

  • Yueliang L. Guo
  • George H. Lambert
  • Chen-Chin Hsu
  • Mark M. L. Hsu


Yucheng (“oil-disease”) victims were Taiwanese people exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their heat-degradation products, mainly polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), from the ingestion of contaminated rice oil in 1978–1979. Serial studies in Yucheng offspring born between 1978 and 1992 are summarized. Children of the exposed women were born with retarded growth, with dysmorphic physical findings, and, during development, with delayed cognitive development, increased otitis media, and more behavioral problems than unexposed children. Recently, examination of the reproductive system has suggested that prenatal exposure exerts late effects on semen parameters in young men after puberty. Results of the investigation in Yucheng children will provide important information about the human health effects and toxicology of PCB/PCDF exposure. Prenatal exposure to these environmental chemicals causes the fetus to be sensitive to the toxic effects of persistent organic pollutants.


Polychlorinated biphenyls In utero exposure Food contamination Teratogens Dioxin-like chemicals Cognitive development Growth Endocrine disruption 



The investigation of Yucheng cohort was supported by grant nos. NSC91-3112-B-006-006 from the National Science Council and NHRI-EX91-9025PL from National Health Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yueliang L. Guo
    • 1
  • George H. Lambert
    • 2
  • Chen-Chin Hsu
    • 3
  • Mark M. L. Hsu
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Occupational and Environmental Health and Department of Internal MedicineNational Cheng Kung University, College of MedicineTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Center for Child and Reproductive Environmental Health, Department of Pediatrics, Environmental and Occupational Health Service Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryEn Chu Kong HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of DermatologyNational Cheng Kung University Medical CollegeTainanTaiwan

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