Vaccinating

A recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and featured in the recent issue of Journal of the American Medical Association is the first to link chemicals to immune problems in children. The study revealed more concerns about exposure to common chemicals as the research team found contraindications with routine vaccinations.

Titled “Serum Vaccine Antibody Concentrations in Children Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds,” the study found that children with higher levels of PCFs (perfluorinated compounds) in their bloodstream were less likely to benefit from recommended vaccines than children who had fewer traces of PCFs in their blood.

Nearly 600 children were tracked from the womb to age seven for the study. The blood levels of PCFs were then observed in relation to the children’s response to vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. “When the PFC concentration increases in the body, the immune system gets more sluggish and is less capable of maintaining a defense mechanism against microorganisms,” according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, adding that many of the children also showed fewer antibodies needed to protect them against developing infections.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PCFs are chemical pollutants found in food packaging and a number of household items. They are bioaccumulative—meaning they do not easily break down in the environment or the human body—which makes their long-term health and environmental effects a concern, especially as short-term exposure to PCFs has been linked to a number of reproductive and developmental problems. The EPA is currently reviewing information on PCFs and considering whether or not to enforce regulations.

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Image: Pink Sherbet Photography