Background: Quality of life (QOL) can be affected by diseases, disasters, and exposure events to environmental factors. However, whether health-related QOL (HRQOL) might be adversely affected by exposure to dioxin-like chemicals 30 years ago is unknown. Methods: We studied people who were poisoned to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dibebenzofurans (PCDFs) due to ingestion of contaminated rice oil in 1979 in central Taiwan, and were called Yucheng (oil-disease in Chinese) people. In 2008, we conducted a survey in 1305 exposed people by mailed questionnaire, which included HRQOL by World Health Organization (WHO) quality of life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) Taiwanese version. A total of 240 Yucheng subjects aged 18-65 years satisfactorily completed the Questionnaire. For comparison, we obtained information from the database of 2001 National Health Survey conducted by the National Health Research Institute and Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Taiwan. Data from age-, sex-, and county-matched background individuals were extracted using 1:3 match. HRQOL among Yucheng people with/without skin manifestation and unexposed referents were compared, while adjusting for other factors by multiple regression analyzes. Results: The Yucheng people had significantly reduced scores in the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains as compared to the referents. Those with skin manifestations were more severely affected than those with no skin manifestations, suggesting a dose-related effect on QOL in exposed people. Conclusion: We show for the very first time that poisoning due to persistent organic pollutants PCBs and PCDFs can affect QOL 30 years after the exposure, especially among those most severely poisoned.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)