PCBs' Legacy: Fewer Boys. (Endocrine Disruptions)

By Washam, Cynthia | Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2003 | Go to article overview

PCBs' Legacy: Fewer Boys. (Endocrine Disruptions)


Washam, Cynthia, Environmental Health Perspectives


The world's worst polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination incident plagues male victims two decades later in their weakened ability to father boys. In 1979, 2,000 people in Yu-Cheng, Taiwan, were exposed to PCBs from contaminated cooking oil. Only 46% of children born to young men exposed in this oil disaster are male (compared to a world average of 51-52%), report a team of researchers from London and Taiwan in the 13 July 2002 issue of The Lancet. Women exposed in the same incident showed no abnormalities in the sex ratio of their offspring.

PCBs are synthetic organic chemicals used extensively for five decades to insulate electrical equipment. PCBs were used as a heat-transfer medium in processing the rice oil involved in the Yu-Cheng incident. PCBs accidentally leaked from a pipe into the oil, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were formed as a by-product during the oil processing as well as later during cooking.

PCBs were banned in the United States more than 25 years ago, but persist in the environment and accumulate in body fat. "Some PCBs are forever," says Walter Rogan, a senior epidemiologist at the NIEHS and a researcher in earlier Yu-Cheng studies. "They don't degrade or metabolize. They're very stable." PCB levels in Yu-Cheng victims remain about 20 times the U.S. average, according to Rogan, and their PCDF levels are 10,000 times the U.S. average.

The researchers don't understand how the chemicals alter sex ratios; they've had few exposed populations to study and are unable to replicate the phenomenon in animal models. But they suspect that PCBs somehow inhibit either sperm carrying the male Y chromosome or the XY-fertilized egg. Only men carry the sex-differentiating chromosome, which could explain why exposed women had children at normal sex ratios.

The researchers analyzed the sex of children born between 1979 and 1999 to 996 exposed mothers and 693 exposed fathers. (In a few couples, both parents had been exposed, but there were too few of these couples to be considered a study group.) For every exposed parent, the team enrolled three same-sex parents of similar age and neighborhood in a control group.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

PCBs' Legacy: Fewer Boys. (Endocrine Disruptions)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.