Polychlorinated biphenyls are chlorinated derivatives of biphenyls, the simple aromatic compounds that are carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. They penetrate the body through the skin, respiratory and digestive systems. Long-term exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls can lead to skin diseases, thyroid damage, cancer, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, or fertility disorders in men and women in adults, and death in high intoxication. The negative effects of
polychlorinated biphenyls during intrauterine development are manifested by lower birth weight, changes in postnatal development, hearing, tooth enamel, immune system, fetal developmental disorders. The neurological and behavioral disorders have been observed. In this paper, we address the negative impact of polychlorinated biphenyls on health and environmental quality. We characterize polychlorinated biphenyls from a historical point of view, we describe their circulation in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. We focus on the results of research from eastern Slovakia, in which continuous exposure of workers to polychlorinated biphenyls caused visible changes in the skin, but also changes in the parameters of lipid metabolism. Finally, we present the current state of research and recommendations for the population.

Key words: polychlorinated biphenyls, environment, health, skin changes
Lek Obz, 2020, 69 (7 – 8): 252-256

Tatiana KIMÁKOVÁ 1, Marián BERNADIČ 2

1 Ústav verejného zdravotníctva a hygieny, UPJŠ LF, Košice, prednostka doc. MUDr. K. Rimárová, CSc., mim. prof.
2 Ústav patologickej fyziológie LF UK v Bratislave, prednosta prof. MUDr. F. Šimko, CSc., FESC