A support group for people poisoned by contaminated rice bran oil more than three decades ago yesterday said it would push for legislation to provide more relief for victims of such cases.
The Oil Disease Victim Association told a news conference that the registered number of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) victims was 1,400, but added that the actual number was far greater.
The association will seek help from legislators to push for legislation to aid victims because many of them have no way of getting assistance.
Liao To-ju (廖脫如), president of the association, said the rights of the victims have been ignored and that they have been stigmatized for a long time.
PCBs do not break down in the body and can lead to organ failure and birth defects. Patients must be continually observed and have regular blood tests.
Liao, herself a PCB poisoning victim, gave birth to two children with the disease. She said “most of the victims are located in Taichung’s Fongyuan (豐原) and Daya (大雅) districts, as well as Lugang (鹿港) and Fusing (福興) in Changhua County.”
PCB poisoning first drew public attention in 1979, when the students, staff and faculty members of Taichung’s Huei-ming School, a school for blind children, were poisoned by food that had been cooked with PCB-contaminated rice bran oil. The victims suffered “chloracne,” a skin condition consisting of unsightly cysts and rashes.