Health conditions were evaluated in 80 electrical workers exposed for many years to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) mixtures with a 42% mean chlorine content, who had blood PCB concentrations from 41 to 1319 micrograms/kg. The clinical study was based on personal history data, physical examination, and laboratory tests (red cell and leukocyte count; determination of haemoglobin, packed cell volume, bilirubin, serum protein electrophoretic fractions, pseudocholinesterase, AST, ALT, GGT, and OCT). Fifteen workers were found to have skin diseases--chloracne (4), folliculitis (4), oil dermatitis (1), juvenile acne (1), and dermatitis due to irritative or allergic agents (5). Sixteen workers showed more or less pronounced hepatic involvement, consisting most often of hepatomegaly with an increase in serum GGT, AST, ALT, and OCT values. In two workers bleeding cavernous haemangiomas were discovered, in one case associated with chronic myelocytic leukaemia. All the workers with chloracne were employed on electric capacitor impregnation with PCBs, and no definite association was found between chloracne and blood PCB concentrations. Conversely, a significant positive association was found between the abnormal liver findings and blood PCB concentrations, particularly trichlorobiphenyl blood concentrations. The abnormal hepatic findings observed are similar to those reported in experimental animals given PCBs, and in some workers such findings should probably be considered as clinical signs of hepatic microsomal enzyme induction.
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