A large pentachlorophenol (PCP)-manufacturing plant located in southwestern Taiwan operated between 1965 and 1982. The present study was conducted to ascertain whether an increased body burden of dioxins existed in pregnant women living in an area of Tainan city contaminated by chemicals from this plant. Twenty-eight pregnant subjects, 21-39 years of age and residing in the study area between March and December of 2004 with a mean dwelling time of 6.07 ± 6.11 years, were recruited. Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in serum of recruited residents were determined. Pregnant women residing in the study area >3 years had significantly higher PCDD (7.48 versus 5.13 pg-toxic equivalents [TEQ]/g-lipid) and dioxin-like PCB (6.70 versus 3.74 pg-TEQ/g-lipid) values as compared to those residing ≤3 years. Furthermore, dioxin concentrations increased with increasing dwelling time. Statistical analyses performed according to demographic characteristics and socioeconomic and dietary habits revealed that total TEQ values were significantly associated with fish consumption and smoking status. Dioxin congeners with greater degrees of chlorine substitution (e.g., HpCDD/F and OCDD/F) partitioned to greater degrees in the subjects of this study as compared to subjects in the general Taiwanese population. The findings of this study strongly implicate the activity of the PCP manufacturing plant in the observed increase in dioxin body burden. Investigation of the health consequences of this increased body burden is recommended.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis