Children's Table of Contents
PCB Human Health Risks
Fox River Watch
Site Index

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability

The PCB Baby Studies - Part 2

(PCB effects are summarized at the top of each study.)

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
The Lake Ontario Study --- Oswego, New York --- PCB exposure through fish consumption

  • neurological damage --- cognitive impairment, memory impairment, abnormal reflexes, less mature autonomic responses, less attention to visual and auditory stimuli, visual recognition memory deficits, and the recency of fish consumption altered a baby’s temperament: duration of orienting, distress to limitations, smiling, laughter, and fear.
  • higher chlorinated PCBs are associated with the neurological damage, not lower chlorinated PCBs
A study of 536 pregnant women and their babies examined the effects of maternal exposure to contaminants (including significant PCBs) in Lake Ontario fish on their newborns and found that exposure in the womb was associated with neurobehavioral deficits that can be assessed soon after birth. 
  • Newborns --- The babies were examined using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) at 12–24 hours and 25–48 hours after birth. Newborns of mothers in the high-exposure category exhibited a greater number of abnormal reflexes, less mature autonomic responses, and less attention to visual and auditory stimuli in comparison with newborns of low- or no-fish–consuming mothers, after adjustment for a variety of potentially confounding factors. These results indicated that, despite moderate consumption of salmon or lake trout (about 30 g/day), newborns of mothers in the high-exposure group scored more poorly on the NBAS than those newborns from the low-exposure or control group. (Lonky et al. 1996)
  • Newborns --- In this follow-up study, the researchers tried to determine if the highly chlorinated forms of PCBs were more likely associated with behavior changes in newborns than low chlorinated forms of PCBs. They examined the relationship between prenatal (cord blood) PCBs in the babies and their test performances using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS). Cord blood PCBs, DDE, HCB, Mirex, lead, and hair mercury levels were determined for 152 women who reported never consuming Lake Ontario fish and 141 women who reported consuming at least 40 PCB-equivalent lbs. of Lake Ontario fish over their lifetime. Earlier work demonstrated that the newborns of fish eaters are exposed to a more heavily chlorinated distribution of PCB congeners, and that highly chlorinated PCBs (hepta-, octa-, and nonachlorinated biphenyls) are most strongly correlated with breast milk levels, perhaps providing the best index of PCB exposure in the Oswego cohort. Given the above, one would predict that these PCBs would be related to impaired performance on those NBAS clusters associated with fish consumption: namely Habituation, Autonomic, and Reflex clusters of the NBAS. Excepting the Reflex cluster, these predictions were confirmed. Results revealed significant linear relationships between the most heavily chlorinated PCBs and performance impairments on the Habituation and Autonomic clusters of the NBAS at 25-48 h after birth. Additionally, higher prenatal PCB exposure was associated with a nonspecific performance impairment on the NBAS as evidenced by a significantly greater proportion of NBAS scales in which poor performance was exhibited in the most highly exposed newborns. Moreover, PCBs of lighter chlorination were unrelated to NBAS performance, as were DDE, Mirex, HCB, lead, and mercury. These results corroborate earlier findings linking Lake Ontario fish consumption to the most heavily chlorinated PCB congeners, and suggest that the chlorination and persistence of PCBs may be an important factor both for exposure assessment and for determining relationships with neurobehavioral functions. (Stewart et al, 2000)
  • 6 to 12 Months Later --- A sample of infants was examined at conceptual age 6 months, and again at conceptual age 12 months using the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence. Analysis of the results revealed a dose-dependent relationship between total umbilical cord-blood PCB levels and poorer FTII performance at both ages, showing visual recognition memory deficits. A similar relationship was observed using a subset of the persistent and heavily chlorinated PCB congeners associated with Lake Ontario fish consumption (septa-, octa-, and nonachlorinated biphenyls) in children tested at 12-months but not at 6-months. These data replicate previous research (Jacobson et al., 1985) which demonstrated a dose-dependent relationship between prenatal PCB exposure and FTII performance in infants of Lake Michigan fisheaters. Analyses of FTII scores with cord-blood DDE and maternal hair methyl mercury (MeHg) revealed no significant associations between FTII performance and either of these toxicants. The latter results replicate those of Myers et al., (1995) who found no effect of MeHg on FTII performance in infants in the Seychelle Islands. (Darvill et al, 2000)
  • 2 Years Later --- Researchers studied the effect of recency on the babies’ coping behavior (Lonky et al, 1996), and examined infant temperament at 24 months of age (Darvill et al. 1997). NBAS and Infant Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ) data were used. Four groups were formed: Group 1-infants, whose mothers reported eating fish throughout their pregnancy; Group 2-infants, whose mothers reported eating fish up until learning of their pregnancy; Group 3-infants, whose mothers reported having eaten fish before 1985; and Group 4-infants, whose mothers had not eaten fish (i.e., the control group). All of the women in groups 1, 2, and 3 reported having eaten at least 2.3 salmon or trout meals per month during their lifetimes. Preliminary results revealed an effect of recency of fish consumption for four of six measured dimensions of temperament: activity level; fear; smiling and laughter; and soothability. After controlling for demographics, parity, use of illicit drugs, and home environment, researchers found there was an overall significant effect for group membership. Additional analysis also showed recency affected duration of orienting, distress to limitations, smiling and laughter, and fear. These findings, paralleling some of the neurobehavioral effects observed by Jacobson and colleagues, were the first to suggest an association between prenatal exposure to toxic substances and a wide range of effects on infant temperament.
  • Follow -ups --- These children also showed impairments on the most recent cognitive measure completed to date: the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities - including the memory subscales. These effects, which are strongly replicative of the Jacobson work from Lake Michigan, are significant after control for a wide range of potentially confounding variables, such as SES, alcohol use, smoking and maternal education. Moreover, the observed effects have been repeatedly linked to the most persistent and heavily chlorinated PCBs, which appear to be the best marker of cumulative PCB exposure. (Stewart, 2000)
newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
The Japan and Taiwan Rice-Oil Poisoning Studies --- 
Yusho and Yu-Cheng
 
  • neurological damage --- lower intelligence, autonomic disturbances (sluggish, clumsy, jerky movements), disordered behavior, reduced mental and psychomotor development, diminished cognitive function, increased activity, persistent effects, slowed nerve conduction (especially sensory nerves), and lower scores at each age level
  • immune system suppression --- increased infections, respiratory distress, decreased antibodies and lymphocytes, etc.
  • dark brown hyperpigmentation in babies (all over)
  • gum disease and swollen gums
  • puffy eyes with discharge
  • dental defects --- teeth at birth, increased cavities
  • abnormal calcification of the skull
  • rocker bottom heel
  • low birth weight
  • immune system suppression --- increased infections, respiratory distress, decreased antibodies and lymphocytes, etc.
Child Learning Disability
  • neurological damage --- lower intelligence, autonomic disturbances (sluggish, clumsy, jerky movements), disordered behavior, reduced mental and psychomotor development, diminished cognitive function, increased activity, persistent effects, slowed nerve conduction (especially sensory nerves), and lower scores at each age level
  • dark brown hyperpigmentation in babies (all over)
  • gum disease and swollen gums
  • puffy eyes with discharge
  • dental defects --- teeth at birth, increased cavities
  • abnormal calcification of the skull
  • rocker bottom heel
  • low birth weight
  • premature births and stillborns
  • growth abnormalities --- slow growth, shorter in height, lower weight, less total lean and soft tissue mass, dysmorphic shaped bodies
  • deformed, darkened finger- and toe-nails
  • skin problems --- acne, itchiness, localized skin infections
  • hair loss
  • reproductive damage --- shorter penises, deformed sperm, reduced sperm motility (movement) and reduced fertilization capability by the sperm
  • long-term effects
Child Dangers, Child Safety

In Japan in 1968 and in Taiwan in 1979, accidental mass poisoning incidents occurred from cooking oil contaminated by PCBs. The 1,788 Japanese people affected are referred to as "Yusho" (Japanese for "rice oil") disease patients, and the 1,843 Taiwanese people affected are said to suffer from "Yu-Cheng" (Chinese for "oil disease.")

It appears that in both cases, the rice-bran oil was being deodorized by a heating process that involved heat-exchange coils filled with circulating PCB oil. When pinholes developed in the coils, PCBs leaked into the cooking oil, and merchants distributed the contaminated oil in markets over wide areas. The oil contained variable levels of PCBs, plus the heated products of PCB degradation: polychlorinated dibenzofurans [furans] and polychlorinated quaterphenyls. (These degradation products are also found in the Fox River and Green Bay. In general, the PCB and furan exposure levels were higher in Taiwan and Japan than we’ve seen in Northeast Wisconsin, though heavy fish consumers on the Fox River and Bay might approach some of these levels.)

In Taiwan, the rice-oil contaminant concentrations were estimated to range from 4.8 to 204.9 ppm PCBs, with a mean of 52 ppm plus or minus 38.7 ppm. Blood measurements within the first year of the outbreak showed a range from 3 to 1,156 ppb PCBs, with a mean of 89.14 plus or minus 6.9 ppb. Four years later, the mean value of PCB blood levels varied from 39 to 101.7 ppb, which was much higher than that of the Japanese Yusho outbreak [mean of 5.9 plus or minus 4.5 ppb.] (Hsu et al, 1985) The PCBs levels were slow to drop. In 59 patients with Yusho, 52.5% still had PCB levels higher than the range found in the general population 13 years after the accident. (Akagi et al, 1985) This has implications for children born to PCB exposed victims many years later.

Roughly half of the 1,843 Taiwanese affected were between the ages of 11 and 30. (Hsu et al, 1985)

Several studies by several different researchers have been conducted on the PCB-exposed women, their newborns and directly-exposed children, over a period of several years:

Yusho Studies

Of 36 babies known to be born to Yusho mothers in Japan, all showed dark brown hyperpigmentation (termed "Coca-Cola" or "Cola Babies") though this effect tended to fade over time. Studies of roughly half of these babies found they also suffered from gingival hyperplasia (gum disease), exophthalmic edematous eye (puffy eyes with discharge), dentition (teeth) at birth, abnormal calcification of the skull as demonstrated by X-ray, and rocker bottom heel. There were 2 stillbirths. (Yamashita et al, 1985) Low birth weight was common (Higuchi 1976, Wong et al, 1981, Nicholson et al, 1994, and Yamashita et al, 1995) and premature births, also. (Higuchi 1976 and Wong et al, 1981) The children also suffered retarded growth, and abnormal tooth development (Nicholson et al, 1994). In both the Yusho and Yu-Cheng incidents, slowed nerve conduction, especially of sensory nerves was documented in children born to exposed mothers (Longnecker et al, 1997, and Rogan et al, 1992 and Hsu et al, 1994). In follow up studies, growth deficiencies were evident. Autonomic disturbances were observed; sluggish, clumsy, and jerky movements were exhibited; and the average intelligence quotient was in the low 70s. (An average IQ is 100.)

Effects on the immune system were also reported in the Yusho and Yu-Cheng populations (Tryphonas 1995). These were in the form of a) persistent respiratory distress (e.g., bronchitis and upper respiratory infections) in half of the persons with Yu-Cheng disease, b) significant decreases in IgA and IgM antibody levels 2 years after exposure but normal after 3 years, c) significant decline in the percentage of total T-lymphocytes in persons with Yu-Cheng disease and a slight increase in T-helper cells and a slight decrease in T-suppressor cells in persons with Yusho disease 14 years after exposure, and d) enhanced responses to mitogens (i.e., pokeweed and concavalin) (Guo et al. 1995).

Yu-Cheng Studies

In a study of 39 babies born early in the poisoning episode to Yu-Cheng mothers in Taiwan, all showed hyperpigmentation. The fatality rate was high. Eight babies died of pneumonia, bronchitis, sepsis, prematurity or congenital weakness. (Hsu et al, 1985) Other researchers also found skin pigmentation and low birth weight were common (Nicholson et al, 1994, and Hsu et al, 1994)

Another study examined 128 Yu-Cheng children, their parents and siblings who were directly exposed, and 115 control children. Direct exposure of mothers stopped in 1979 and children were born as late as 1985. At birth, exposed children had increased rates of hyperpigmentation, eyelid swelling and discharge, deformed nails, acne, and swollen gums compared to controls. Some were born with teeth. On examination, they had a much higher rate of dystrophic finger-nails and pigmented or dystrophic toe-nails than controls. They also had an increased rate of acne. In addition they had more generalized itching, localized skin infections and hair loss. The findings seen in babies exposed in the womb differ from those seen in people directly exposed (who have a higher prevalence of acne.) (Gladen et al, 1990)

In both the Yusho and Yu-Cheng incidents, slowed nerve conduction, especially of sensory nerves was documented in children born to exposed mothers (Longnecker et al, 1997, and Rogan et al, 1992 ). 

In 1985, NIEHS scientists studied 117 offspring of Yu-Cheng mothers. The children showed cavity-prone teeth, poor nail formation, and short stature. Another study also showed exposed children were shorter and weighed less than normal (Hsu et al, 1984) A 1995 study of children of Yu-Cheng mothers found they were born growth retarded, with dysmorphic physical findings, and delayed cognitive (brain) development compared with unexposed children. (Yueliang et al, 1995) 

In 1991, 55 Yu-Cheng children were studied and compared to age- and sex-matched control subjects. The children's growth profiles, bone mineral density and soft tissue composition, joint laxity, and serum parathyroid hormone, vitamin D, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, and phosphate were compared. The Yu-Cheng children were 3.1 cm (p < .05) smaller and had less total lean mass and soft tissue mass as compared to the matched control subjects. All other measure were similar in both groups. The shorter height and decreased total lean mass and soft tissue content were only seen in the Yu-Cheng children who were the first born after the PCB ingestion, but not in subsequent children. This was most likely due to decreased body burdens of the PCBs and related contaminants over time in the mothers. (Guo et al, 1994)

Since environmental chemicals have been shown to alter endocrine function, including sexual maturation, in wildlife and laboratory animals; another study examined whether PCBs and furans might alter sexual maturation in humans. A group of adolescent Yu-Cheng children were compared to a closely matched-control group of adolescents not exposed to PCBs or furans. On periodic physical exam the children's Tanner stage of sexual maturation was assessed. In the boys, size of testes and length of the penis were measured using standard techniques. There was no statistical difference in timing of the Tanner stages in either gender. However in the 55 pairs of boys between the ages of 11 and 15 years old, the penis length was decreased in the boys exposed in utero to PCBs and furans. Testicular size was similar in both groups. Future studies will determine if these effects will persist when the boys are sexually mature, and the mechanism(s) of the observed changes. (Guo et al, 1996)

All prenatally exposed Yu-Cheng boys and appropriate controls were contacted for medical examination in 1998. Sperm of exposed children were found to have increased abnormal morphology, reduced motility, and reduced capacity to penetrate hamster oocytes. (Guo et al, 2000)

In 1993, otolaryngologists examined the middle ear of Yu-Cheng children with a pneumatic otoscope, and measured the middle-ear pressure by tympanometry with a Rion RS20 impedance audiometer. The exposed children had a significantly higher prevalence of middle-ear diseases than their matched controls. The exposed children who had ear disease had higher serum levels of PCBs and furans than the children who did not. (Chao et al, 1997)

In 1995 studies, effects on the immune system were reported in the Yu-Cheng and Yusho populations (Tryphonas 1995). These included a) persistent respiratory distress (e.g., bronchitis and upper respiratory infections) in half of the persons with Yu-Cheng disease, b) significant decreases in IgA and IgM antibody levels 2 years after exposure but normal after 3 years, c) significant decline in the percentage of total T-lymphocytes in persons with Yu-Cheng disease and a slight increase in T-helper cells and a slight decrease in T-suppressor cells in persons with Yusho disease 14 years after exposure, and d) enhanced responses to mitogens (i.e., pokeweed and concavalin) (Guo et al. 1995). 

Another immunity study in 1995 had different results: Researchers examined 105 Yucheng children and 101 control children, with a thorough physical examination and blood draw. The Yucheng children were reported by their parents to have higher frequencies of influenza attacks than the control children during the six months prior to the examination. The frequencies of other symptoms were similar between the two groups. The serum levels of various immunoglobulins were similar between the two groups. Fifty-one serum samples, 29 of Yucheng and 22 of control children, were available for cell-mediated immunologic analysis. The percentages of various T cell markers, CD3, CD4, and CD8, and B cell and NK cell markers were not different between the Yucheng and the control children. No dose-response relationship was found between 27 Yucheng children's serum PCB/PCDF levels and any of their immunologic markers. These researchers concluded that 16 years after the Yucheng incident, children exposed to high doses of PCBs/PCDFs in utero did not show, with the serum immunologic marker analyses, suppressed immunity when compared to their controls. To explain the consistent higher frequencies of upper respiratory tract infection in the Yucheng children, immune functional tests such as delayed hypersensitive skin reaction, in vitro lymphocyte proliferation, and antibody synthesis following immunization may be necessary. (Yu et al, 1998)

Neurological Study #1 --- In 1985, NIEHS scientists studied 117 offspring of Yu-Cheng mothers. They displayed behavioral problems and developmental delays that average 5-8 points on standard IQ scales. In addition, researchers discovered that children born up to six years after the exposure exhibit delays as severe as those in children born in 1979.

Neurological Study #2 --- Researchers used data from a project that began in 1985 in Taiwan, in which 117 children (mean age, 2.7 years in 1985) born to mothers in a PCB/PCDF poisoning registry and controls were followed, and they examined whether the developmental delay in the children was related to the severity of exposure to the mother or child. Blood samples from 38 children were analyzed and none had detectable furans. More exposed children (14/21) than control children (6/15) had detectable PCBs; the highest median concentration was among the breast-fed exposed children (4.5 ppb), but bottle-fed exposed controls (0.44) and breast-fed controls (0.53) were about the same. Among the exposed children, those with detectable PCBs had mean IQ scores 15 points lower than those without detectable PCBs when tested in the fall of 1986. A simple count of PCB-associated symptoms among the mothers was weakly related to IQ score (P = 0.01, R2 = 0.05). There were no strong relations between either measure of exposure and signs or symptoms in the children or between symptoms in the mother and level in the child. The authors conclude that there is some evidence for dose-response in the expression of the syndrome in the children, but small numbers and the imprecision in measuring both IQ and exposure make quantification difficult. (Yu et al, 1990)

Neurological Study #3 --- Cognitive testing (Bayley mental and psychomotor developmental indices, Stanford-Binet test, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC-R]) indicated significantly lower overall age-adjusted developmental scores among the exposed Yu-Cheng children. Developmental delays were seen at all ages and were greater in children who were smaller in size, had neonatal signs of intoxication, and/or had a history of nail deformities. Results of follow-up testing (Stanford-Binet test and WISC-R), when the children were 4–7 years of age, indicated that effects on cognitive development persisted for several years after exposure (Chen et al. 1992).

Neurological Study #4 --- The Rutter Child Scale A, a parent interview questionnaire that detects behavioral disorders, was used in this study. Higher scores represent more behavior disorders. At each year since 1985, combining children of different ages, the Yu-Cheng children scored 9-43% higher (worse) (mean = 22%) on the Rutter scale; differences were significant except for the 2.5-year follow-up. There was no consistent trend toward decreased differences in score with increasing time between the outbreak and year of birth. There were similar results from a Child Activity Checklist. This exposure appears to cause a behavior disorder and perhaps increased activity; the effect is persistent over time and appears to be similar in children born up to 6 years after the mother was exposed. (Chen et al, 1992)

Neurological Study #5 --- 118 children, referred to as 'the early-born Yucheng children', and matched controls were followed with the Chinese version of Rutter's Child Behavior Scale A annually from 1985 to 1991. At any fixed age, the early-born Yucheng children had mean Rutter behavior scores 1.75 to 2.40 points higher (14-38% worse) than that of their controls. The effects were similar in the health, habit, and behavioral subscores and persistent as the children aged. (Yu et al, 1994)

Neurological Study #6 --- Another researcher started a 12-year follow-up study in August 1985, 118 Yucheng children were assigned a non-exposed child matched by sex, age, locality of residence, mother's age, socio-economic status of the family. A consistent tendency indicates that Yucheng children score lower in each kind of measurement tool at each age level. This implies that congenital exposure to PCBs and their contaminants has long-term adverse effects on the cognitive development of human beings. (Lai et al, 1994)

Neurological Study #7 --- Starting in 1985, a group of 117 Yu-Cheng children and 117 controls were assessed annually for neurocognitive functioning. The Yucheng children scored approximately 5 points lower than their matched controls at ages 4-5 by Stanford-Binet test, and at ages 6-7 by Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, revised. In Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM) at ages 6-8, Yucheng girls scored similarly as control girls, but Yucheng boys' scores were lower than those of control boys and were similar to those of the girls. The Yucheng children scored higher than their matched controls on both Rutter Child Behavior Scale and Werry-Weiss-Peters Activity scales from 1985 to 1991, indicating higher frequencies of disordered behavior and higher activity levels. (Guo et al, 1995)

Studies of the Yusho and Yu-Cheng victims contribute to the weight of evidence that man-made chemicals can disrupt normal endocrine (hormone) function and are associated with neurobehavioral deficits. (Harada 1976; Wong and Huang 1981; Hsu et al. 1985)

Conclusions --- Although these neurobehavioral deficits were similar to the findings of the Jacobsons on Lake Michigan, they were much more pronounced and, according to several scientists, could have resulted primarily from the presence of furans as co-contaminants in the rice oil. They believe: "For this reason, and based predominantly on comparisons with Japanese workers who had higher PCB blood levels and few or none of the symptoms present in the rice oil poisonings, furans were generally considered to be the primary causal agent" (Bandiera et al. 1984; Kunita et al. 1984; Masuda and Yoshimura 1984; Ryan et al. 1990; Safe 1990; Takayama et al. 1991; Tanabe et al. 1989; ATSDR 1997). 

However, the results of the Japan Occupational Exposure Study below show that PCB-exposed worker’s children suffered the same symptoms, except that no neurological tests were performed on the children to determine whether they suffered the same learning and behavior deficits. In addition, several of the Yu-Cheng neurological studies cited above are based on the same 117 children used in "Neurological Study #2 cited above, where the researchers state that among their selected 38 children "none had detectable PCDFs (furans)" in their blood samples. Even so, the children suffered serious intelligence declines of 15 IQ points (mean).

Furthermore, commercial mixtures of PCBs frequently contain significant furan contamination. And when PCBs degrade over time or are exposed to heat, additional furans are formed. As a result, worldwide human PCB exposures frequently involve furans as well. To say that Yu-Cheng neurological effects are due only to furans (and are therefore irrelevant to PCB risk assessment) isn’t plausible given this information and the results of the numerous studies cited in this report from other parts of the world.

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
The Japan Occupational Exposure Study --- occupational PCB exposure

  • same medical findings as Yusho children, but milder
  • fatigue
  • immune system suppression --- increased colds, coughing, expectoration, fever
  • itchy skin
  • red eyes
  • weak digestion
  • growth suppression --- shorter and lighter weight children, especially girls
  • cavities and mottled enamel in teeth
  • decaying nails
  • gum pigmentation
A study of 155 capacitor manufacturing workers exposed to PCBs was conducted starting in 1973, and included examination of 158 children born to PCB-exposed mothers at the plant. 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 non-exposed Japanese. Blood PCB levels had a statistically significant correlation with the duration of PCB handling and breast milk PCB levels. The levels of blood PCB tended to be higher in the children fed PCB-contaminated breast milk for a long period. 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 disease (see above); however, the researchers said the children had not been diagnosed as PCB-poisoning, because the findings were "neither so serious nor related to the blood PCB levels." (Hara, 1985) Even so the researchers found that the more exposed children (particularly girls) were shorter and lighter weight than less exposed children. Mothers of the more exposed children reported more complaints of fatigue, catching cold, weak digestion, coughing, expectoration, and itchy skin. The longer the period of breast-feeding the more frequent the complaints, including fever, red eyes, itchy skin and carious teeth. Follow-up studies of 40 children documented some children’s decay of nails, gum pigmentation, mottled tooth enamel and dental caries, which were typical symptoms in Yusho disease. (Hara, 1985)

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
The Japanese Reproductive Health Study --- at background PCB exposure levels

  • increased testes damage in men from 1948 to 1998 --- reduced sperm
  • accelerated puberty in boys and girls
Studies have reported that a possible cause of regional declines in sperm counts, increases in hypospadias in human males, and accelerated puberty in girls is due to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Disturbances of hormonal regulation during fetal or postnatal development in humans may induce adverse effects on the male reproductive system. But adverse effects of EDCs on humans are not clear. Therefore, researchers investigated fetal exposure to EDCs in Japan by analyzing umbilical cords, and changes of testis weight and spermatogenesis in Japanese men by using analytical data of necropsy. Human umbilical cords, a part of the fetal tissue, were collected from normal newborns. We detected dioxins, PCBs, DDTs, hexachlorocyclohexane (BHC), chlordanes and heavy metals (Cd, Pb and Hg) in both human umbilical cords and cord blood. Bisphenol A and nonylphenols were also detected in human umbilical cords. The researchers also examined medicolegal data of about 20,000 Japanese men (20-39 years old) who were subjected to necropsy from 1948 to 1998. The weight of testes with caput epididymis increased constantly from 1948 until 1980, but has slightly declined since then. From the analysis of interrelation among birth year, age and testis weight, the researchers also found that puberty in boys has accelerated as well as with girls in Japan. (Mori, 2000)

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability
The Japanese Young Women Study --- at background PCB exposure levels

  • immune system damage --- lymphocyte changes
  • thyroid changes
  • PCBs account for 23% of dioxin equivalency in these Japanese women
A recent study in Japan investigated dioxins and related compounds such as PCBs in the blood of young Japanese women, approximately 20 years of age, who had not yet had children, to examine how toxic equivalents of dioxin (including certain types of PCBs which are very similar to dioxin) in their blood may affect the next generation. Means of Total TEQ levels (toxic equivalent quotients) were 0.063 pg/g (mean) for whole blood, and 21 pg/g for lipids (fats). TEQ of PCDDs (dioxins), PCDFs (furans), and coplanar PCBs accounted for about 43, 34 and 23% of the total TEQ in the whole blood, respectively. In the lipids, their values were about 44, 34 and 22%, respectively. Previously, the investigators looked at dioxins and related compounds in mother's breast milk, lymphocyte subpopulation and thyroid function of their children, and found negative correlations between the TEQ level of dioxins and related compounds and CD4+/CD8+, and/or the TEQ level of dioxins and related compounds and the T4 level in 36 mothers and children. Of these cases, the average age was approximately 28 years. The researchers conclude that dioxins and related compounds such as PCBs may be related to immune system damage, such as atopic dermatitis. They add that the "effects of dioxins and related compounds on babies of young Japanese women are important and must be further evaluated." (Iida et al, 1999)

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability

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newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability

newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability


newborn development, newborn health, pregnancy diet, pregnancy nutrition, prenatal development, prenatal health, pregnancy development, pregnancy complication, behavioral health, behavioral psychology, child safety, child learning disability