|Project Details||PCB is thought to have effects as an endocrine disruptor, in addition to causing direct health effects such as skin rush and many others. In Japan, PCB was noted for its toxicity with the Kanemi Yusho incident in 1968, as a turning point. Contaminated oil was sold in the marketplace and people who consumed it fell ill. Victims were afflicted with various health problems, such as skin pigmentation effects, an increased fetal death rate, and chlorine acne. Even before the harm to people was revealed, chickens had been affected. Hens were fed chicken feed contaminated with the oil and a massive death occurred; however, these deaths were not considered a serious issue. If they had been taken seriously, then perhaps the Kanemi Yusho accident would not have happened. The contaminating agent was Kanechlor 500 (KC-500), a brand name of PCBs.|
The number of victims of the Kanemi Yusho incident exceeded 14,000. More than 30 years afterwards, yet victims were still suffering from their injuries. It turned out later that poly-chloro-dibenzofuran (PCDF), a dioxin, was also contained in the contaminated oils. Finally, in 2002, the Japanese Government admitted that the injuries were caused by PCBs, as well as dioxin. After the Kanemi Yusho Incident, people began to realize the toxicity of PCBs and the movements to forbid PCBs spread globally.
In 1974, the manufacture and the use of PCB were banned completely in Japan. Manufacture of PCB had started in 1929 at Swan Co., USA. Immediately after that, the toxicity of PCB began to cause problems such as the chlorine pimple disease in laborers, which was confirmed by animal experiments. However, because of the "excellent" properties of PCB, the production was expanded. The production of PCB in Japan was started in 1954. Soon after that, the pollution problems from PCB were found all over the world, such as contaminated feed for chickens also in the USA and environmental contamination in Sweden.