Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and related compounds such as polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins (PCDDs) alter sexual maturation and endocrine function in animals. In 1978-1979, a mass poisoning occurred in central Taiwan from cooking oil contaminated by heat-degraded PCBs and oxidated compounds PCDFs. We tested the hypothesis that in utero exposed to PCBs/PCDFs alter sexual maturation, endocrine, and reproductive function in the human pubescent females. Methods: In 1997-1999, girls aged 13-19 years, born to mothers exposed to PCBs/PCDFs, was invited to participate in the study. Menstruation characteristic was recorded daily for 84 days and serum levels of estradiol, LH, FSH, and testosterone were measured on the 3rd day of menstruation. Results: A total of 17 exposed girls and controls participated, the exposed girls reported shorter mean duration of bleeding per cycle than 16 unexposed (5.5 vs 6.5 days, P = 0.0055). There was a higher rate of irregular menstrual cycle in the exposed girls (40% vs 0%, P = 0.018). Serum levels of estradiol (P = 0.016) and FSH (P = 0.061) were higher in exposed girls as compared to controls. Conclusions: We conclude that prenatal exposure to PCBs/PCDFs resulted in abnormal menstruation and higher estradiol and FSH levels in follicular phase of menstrual cycle in adolescent girls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis