Why to avoid PCBS

Outlook - - COVER STORY -

In­di­vid­u­als can be ex­posed to PCBs through breath­ing in con­tam­i­nated air, eat­ing con­tam­i­nated food, by skin con­tact with old elec­tri­cal equip­ment that con­tains PCBs. Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, the most com­monly ob­served health ef­fects in those ex­posed to ex­tremely high lev­els of PCBs are skins con­di­tions, such as rashes, liver dam­age, Yusho dis­ease, ir­reg­u­lar men­strual cy­cles, and low­ered im­mune re­sponses. Diox­ins are con­sid­ered highly toxic and re­spon­si­ble for re­pro­duc­tive and de­vel­op­men­tal prob­lems. They can dam­age the im­mune sys­tem, in­ter­fere with hor­mones and cause can­cer. The sus­pected ef­fects in adults in­clude liver dam­age and al­ter­ations in heme metabolism, serum lipid lev­els, thy­roid func­tions as well as di­a­betes and im­muno­log­i­cal ef­fects. Other ef­fects may in­clude den­tal and sex­ual devel­op­ment. In­trauter­ine ex­po­sure to diox­ins in the work­place of­ten leads to ba­bies who later de­velop changes in liver func­tion, thy­roid hor­mone lev­els and de­creased lev­els of learn­ing and in­tel­li­gence. Moth­ers who eat large amounts of fish con­tam­i­nated with PCBs are known to have smaller ba­bies who of­ten suf­fer from mem­ory prob­lems. Other stud­ies sug­gest that child im­mune sys­tems were af­fected in chil­dren born to moth­ers ex­posed to higher lev­els of PCBs, of­ten through breast milk. Stud­ies by the United States En­vion­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency have also found in­creases in ma­lig­nant melanoma and rare liver can­cers in PCB work­ers.

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