Purpose: Few studies have examined the influence of dioxin-related compounds on human physical function, and existing results are inconsistent. In 1968, accidental human exposure to rice oil contaminated with dioxin-related compounds resulted in the development of Yusho oil disease in Japan. We aimed to determine whether the degree of exposure to dioxin-related compounds was associated with physical function in Yusho patients. Methods: In 2016, 65 men (average age: 65.7 years) and 77 women (average age: 64.7 years) participated in a nationwide health examination in Fukuoka prefecture. Functional reach, gait speed, hand grip strength, and toe grip strength were evaluated as part of physical function. The serum levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and non-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls were measured using high-resolution gas chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry. We examined the association between physical function tests and serum toxic equivalency (TEQ) values. Results: A 10-fold increase in serum TEQ levels was negatively associated with functional reach (adjusted b = -4.07, p = 0.017) and hand grip strength (adjusted b = -2.20, p = 0.0245) in men. No association was observed between serum TEQ level and physical function in women. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that dioxin-related compounds have a negative influence on physical function in men. However, these findings should be interpreted carefully. Future studies examining additional data on musculoskeletal disorders are warranted.
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