Toxicant and Disease Database

The CHE Toxicant and Disease Database is a searchable database that summarizes links between chemical contaminants and approximately 180 human diseases or conditions. Diseases and or toxicants can be viewed by utilizing the search options below. See a full description of the database and our methodology.

See also our compilation of other Databases and Resources

For questions or comments about the database, please contact us through our Contact form.

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), not otherwise specified

Diseases linked to this toxicant    Grouped by strength of evidence

Strong Evidence

ADD/ADHD, hyperactivity

Behavioral problems



Cognitive impairment (includes impaired learning, impaired memory, and decreased attention span) / mental retardation / developmental delay

Porphyria (toxic)

Thyroid disorders - hypothyroidism

Good Evidence

Abnormal sperm (morphology, motility, and sperm count)

Acute hepatocellular injury (hepatitis)s

Breast cancer

Bronchitis - chronic

Cranio-facial malformations

Delayed growth

Dyslipidemia, hypercholesterolemia


Hepatocellular cancer (liver cancer)

Immune suppression

Low birth weight / small for gestational age / intra-uterine growth retardation

Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's)

Menstrual disorders (abnormal bleeding, short cycles, long cycles, irregular cycles, painful periods)

Pancreatic cancer

Peripheral neuropathy

Limited Evidence

Altered sex ratio

Altered time to sexual maturation (accelerated or delayed puberty)

Bone cancer/Ewings sarcoma

Colorectal cancer

Diabetes - Type I

Fetotoxicity (miscarriage / spontaneous abortion, stillbirth)

Gallbladder cancer

Hearing loss

Hormonal changes (levels of circulating sex hormones - FSH/LH, Inhibin, and/or estrogens, progesterones, androgens, prolactin)

Hyperkeratosis / hyperpigmentation

Hypertension (high blood pressure)


Melanoma (skin cancer)

Parkinson's disease / movement disorders

Prostate cancer

Reduced fertility - female (infertility and subfertility)

Testicular cancer


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Hardell L, van Bavel B et al. Increased concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, hexachlorobenzene, and chlordanes in mothers of men with testicular cancer. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2003 Jun;111(7):930-4.

Hauser R, Chen Z, Pothier L, Ryan L, Altshul L. The relationship between human semen parameters and environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and p,p'-DDE. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003 Sep;111:1505-1511.

Hauser R, Williams P, Altshul L, Calafat AM. Evidence of interaction between polychlorinated biphenyls and phthalates in relation to human sperm motility. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2005 Apr;113(4):425-30.

Holladay SD. Prenatal immunotoxicant exposure and postnatal autoimmune disease. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1999 Oct;107 Suppl 5:687-91.

Hruska KS, Furth PA, Seifer DB, Sharara FI, Flaws JA. Environmental factors in infertility. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2000 Dec;43(4):821-9.

Karmaus W, Huang S, Cameron L. Parental concentration of dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene and polychlorinated biphenyls in Michigan fish eaters and sex ratio in offspring. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2002 Jan;44(1):8-13.

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Landrigan PJ, Garg A. Chronic effects of toxic environmental exposures on children's health. Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology. 2002;40(4):449-56.

Leikin JB, Davis A et al. Selected topics related to occupational exposures. Part IV. Occupational liver disease. Disease-a-Month. 2000 Apr;46(4):296-310.

Longnecker MP, Daniels JL. Environmental contaminants as etiologic factors for diabetes. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2001 Dec;109 Suppl 6:871-6.

Louis GM, Weiner JM, Whitcomb BW, Sperrazza R, Schisterman EF, Lobdell DT, Crickard K, Greizerstein H, Kostyniak PJ. Environmental PCB exposure and risk of endometriosis. Human Reproduction. 2005 Jan;20(1):279-285.

Louis GM; Weiner JM, Whitcomb BW, Sperrazza R, Schisterman EF, Lobdell DT, Crickard K, Greizerstein H, Kostyniak PJ. Environmental polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and risk of endometriosis. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 2005 Apr; 60(4):243-244.

Rom WM. Environmental and Occupational Medicine, 3rd Edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers, 1998.

NOTE: Not all the references are currently available, but they will be added as soon as possible. If you need a reference and are unable to find it, please contact us through our contact form