Polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and human disease

J Occup Med. 1993 Feb;35(2):136-48. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199302000-00014.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) continue to be of great environmental and occupational health interest. This review summarizes the major clinical findings reported in individuals incurring the greatest PCB exposure--those persons working in the manufacture or repair of electrical capacitors or transformers. The potential target organs addressed in the studies reviewed include the liver, lungs, skin, cardiovascular system, nervous system, certain endocrine systems, the blood/immune system, and the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. After careful analysis, the weight of evidence suggests the only adverse health effects attributable to high, occupational PCB exposures are dermal. This review confirms and extends the observations of others, ie, that the collective occupational experience with PCB fluids provides no evidence for adverse PCB effects on any other organ systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls