Gestational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans induced asymmetric hearing loss: Yucheng children study

Ming Chieh Li, Hung Pin Wu, Chiu Yueh Yang, Pau Chung Chen, George H. Lambert, Yue Leon Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In 1979, approximately 2000 people in central Taiwan were exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans (PCBs/PCDFs) due to ingestion of contaminated rice oil. The children born to mothers exposed to PCBs/PCDFs were called Yucheng children. We conducted a follow-up study to examine the association between gestational PCBs/PCDFS exposure and auditory function in Yucheng children's early adulthood. Methods: In 1985 and early 1992, Yucheng children and their age, gender, socio-economic matched unexposed referent children were recruited for physical examination and long-term follow-ups. In 2007, Yucheng children and referent children were invited to participate in a health examination, including assessment of pure-tone air-conduction thresholds and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) test. Gestational exposure to PCBs/PCDFs in Yucheng children were estimated by back-extrapolation of their mother's serum concentration to the time of childbirth. Results: A total of 86 Yucheng children (51.2% males) and 97 referent children (50.5% males) were included for analysis. No difference was found in demographic characteristics between two groups. Among the Yucheng children, 53 had estimated PCBs/PCDFs concentrations. We found that Yucheng children were at higher risk of having elevated hearing threshold at low frequencies in the right ear. Estimated maternal concentrations of 2,3,4,7,8-pnCDF at the time of birth were associated with increased hearing thresholds and decreased DPOAEs amplitudes at low frequencies in the right ear. Conclusion: Gestational exposure to PCBs/PCDFs caused adverse asymmetrical hearing effects detectable even in early adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Gestational
  • Hearing loss
  • PCBs
  • PCDFs
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans
  • Prenatal
  • Yucheng

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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