A 6-year follow-up of behavior and activity disorders in the Taiwan Yu-cheng children

Am J Public Health. 1994 Mar;84(3):415-21. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.3.415.


Objectives: The relationship of behavior and activity levels to the interval between outbreak and year of birth and to age of children is explored in Taiwanese children exposed in utero to heat-degraded polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)--the Yu-cheng children. Additionally, the relationship of the scores to chemical, physical, and cognitive findings is described.

Methods: With Rutter's Child Behavior Scale A and a modified Werry-Weiss-Peters Activity Scale, 118 Yu-chen children and matched controls were followed biannually from 1985 to 1991.

Results: At each year, the Yu-cheng children scored 7% to 43% worse (mean = 23%) than control children on the Rutter scale. At any fixed age, the Yu-cheng children scored 11% to 63% (mean = 28%) worse. The effect for children born later did not differ from that for those born earlier; neither was there any improvement as the children aged. A similar but weaker picture was seen for the activity score. These behavioral findings were not related to physical or cognitive findings or to serum PCB levels.

Conclusions: In utero exposure to heat-degraded PCBs appears to cause mildly disordered behavior and increased activity level; the effect persists over time and is similar in children born up to 6 years after the mothers were exposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls