Mortality after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans: 30 years after the "Yucheng Accident"

Ming Chieh Li, Pei Chien Tsai, Pau Chung Chen, Chia Jung Hsieh, Yue Liang Leon Guo*, Walter J. Rogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In 1979, approximately 2,000 people in central Taiwan were accidentally exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans due to ingestion of contaminated cooking oil. This event was called Yucheng, "oil-syndrome" in Chinese. We followed the exposed persons and compared their cause-specific mortality with that of neighborhood referents 30 years after the accident. Methods: We obtained age- and gender-matched referents from the 1979 neighborhoods of the exposed people. Cause-specific mortality was compared between exposed subjects (N=1803) and their neighborhood referents (N=5170) using standardized mortality ratios (SMR). Total person-years for the Yucheng subjects and neighborhood referents were 48,751 and 141,774, respectively. Results: The SMR for all causes (SMR=1.2, 95% CI: 1.1-1.3), diseases of the circulatory system (SMR=1.3, 95% CI: 1.0-1.6), and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (SMR=6.4, 95% CI: 2.8-12.7) were elevated in Yucheng subjects. Among Yucheng males, the SMRs for diseases of the digestive system (SMR=1.9, 95% CI: 1.2-2.8), malignant neoplasm of stomach (SMR=3.5, 95% CI: 1.5-7.0), and malignant neoplasm of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue (SMR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.1-6.6) were increased. The SMR for total neoplasms was increased (SMR=1.3, 95% CI: 0.9-1.7). Conclusion: We conclude that exposure to PCBs/PCDFs at levels that produced symptoms in many affects mortality patterns 3 decades after exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Dioxin
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans
  • Standardized mortality ratio
  • Yucheng

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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