Yusho was a mass food poisoning event due to the ingestion of rice oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and various dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. At its outbreak in 1968, Yusho patients suffered severe skin symptoms. Although the blood concentrations of PCBs and dioxins, especially highly toxic 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorinated dibenzofuran (2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF) remain high in these patients, extensive analysis has not been performed on their current skin symptoms. We categorized and evaluated the specific skin symptoms in Yusho in 2012 by grading their severity using an arbitrary scoring system, and analyzed their correlations with the blood concentrations of 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF and PCBs. A total of 352 Yusho patients underwent annual dermatological check-ups, in which five skin symptoms: Black comedones, acneiform eruptions, scar formation, pigmentation and nail deformity, were evaluated for their distribution and severity. Approximately one-third of Yusho patients still presented with black comedones, acneiform eruptions and scar formation; the distributions of these symptoms were similar to those at the time of the Yusho outbreak. The mean blood concentrations of 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF and total PCBs in Yusho patients were still higher than those in controls. The prevalence and severity of black comedones were correlated with age. Severity scores of black comedones and scar formation were positively correlated with 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF blood level, and those of black comedones, scar formation, and pigmentation were positively correlated with total PCBs blood level. This study suggests that 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF and PCBs remaining in Yusho patients still play crucial roles in the development of skin symptoms in Yusho.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry