IQ scores of 118 Taiwanese children who had been exposed prenatally to high levels of heat-degraded polychlorinated phenyls (PCBs) in contaminated rice oil and compared with controls are reported from the National Cheng Kung University Medical College, Tainan, Taiwan, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Exposed children scored 5 points lower on the Chinese versions of the Stanford-Binet and WISC-R at ages 4 - 5 and 6 - 7 years, respectively. Children born up to 6 years after maternal exposure and tested at 6 and 7 years of age were as affected as those born within a year after exposure. [1]

COMMENT. In the US children born to women who routinely consumed Lake Michigan sportfish had poorer short-term memory function on both verbal and quantitative tests in a dose-dependent fashion [2]. Rogan WJ, an author of the Taiwan report, has written several articles on the in utero effects of PCBs on child development, a hazard that requires effective governmental disposal. (Also see Environmental Poisons in our Food, Millichap JG, Chicago, PNB Publ, 1993, 271 pp).