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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Environmental Chemicals Lower Kid’s Immune Response

January 30, 2012

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are linked to the lowering of children’s immune response to vaccinations. Perfluorinated compounds are chemicals used in manufactured products, including but not limited to waterproof clothing, fast-food packaging, and non-stick cookware. Most Americans have the chemical compounds in their bodies.

A team of researchers led by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health, recruited children from birth at National Hospital in Torshavn, Faroe Islands during 1999 through 2001, totaling 587 participants who followed up on the investigation. Tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations at ages 5 and 7 years were used to test the immune response in each child. PFCs were measured in maternal pregnancy serum and in the serum of children at age 5 to determine prenatal and postnatal exposure. As a result PFC’s were associated with lower antibody responses to immunizations and an increased risk of antibody levels in children lower than those needed to provide long-term protection.

This is the first test on how PFCs, which are transferred from the mother to the child prenatally, can affect a child’s vaccine response. Philippe Grandjean was quoted as saying, “Routine childhood immunizations are a mainstay of modern disease prevention. The negative impact on childhood vaccinations from PFCs should be viewed as a potential threat to public health. We were surprised by the steep negative associations, which suggest that PFCs may be more toxic to the immune system than current dioxin exposures.”

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, January 2012