Effects of prenatal exposure to PCBs on the neurological function of children: a neuropsychological and neurophysiological study

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1994 Apr;36(4):312-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1994.tb11851.x.


To determine the long-term neurotoxicity of prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 54 children--27 'Yu-Cheng' ('oil disease') children and 27 controls--were administered a battery of tests, including the WISC-R, auditory event-related potentials (P300), pattern visual evoked potentials (P-VEPs) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs). Full-scale IQ scores on the WISC-R were lower for the Yu-Cheng group than for the control group. Mean P300 latencies were significantly longer, and P300 amplitude significantly more reduced, in the Yu-Cheng group than in the control group at Cz and Pz. There were no significant difference in peak latencies and amplitudes between the two groups for P-VEPs and SSEPs. These findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PCBs tends to affect high cortical function rather than the sensory pathway in the developing brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Female
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oryza
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / poisoning*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Reaction Time
  • Taiwan


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls