(January 24, 2012 - Insidermedicine)
Exposure to industrial pollutants known as perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, at levels currently found in some children has been associated with a substantial reduction in the children’s immune system response to vaccinations, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Here is some information about PFCS:
• They are organic compounds that are widely used in industry and manufacturing, including food packaging
• They are highly persistent in the environment, meaning they don’t break down easily or quickly
• They can contaminate drinking water, food, and the food chain
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health compared exposure to PFCs among children born between 1999 and 2001 in the Faroe Islands with their immune system response at age 5 and 7 to vaccines for tetanus and diphtheria. The children would have begun receiving these vaccinations at about 3 months of age. The Faroe Islands consist of a small fishing community located in the Norwegian Sea between Scotland and Iceland. Their high intake of marine life means they have a high exposure to PFCs. Blood levels of PFCs were measured in the mothers of the children when they were 32 weeks’ pregnant and in the children themselves when they were 5 years of age.
The PFCs found in the highest concentrations were perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a finding that is similar to results of studies conducted in the U.S. A twofold increase in the concentration of PFOS in the blood of the pregnant mothers was associated with a 39% reduction in immune response to the diphtheria vaccine among the children at age 5. In addition, levels of major PFCs in the children’s blood at age 5 were associated with lower antibody levels, especially at age 7, to both tetanus and diphtheria. In fact, a twofold increase in levels of PFOS and PFOA at age 5 was associated with two to four times the risk of having antibody levels of tetanus and diphtheria that had fallen so low by age 7 that the child would no longer be considered to be completely protected from these diseases.
Today’s research suggests that contamination with PFCs found in some members of the population could be high enough to be actively blunting the action of the immune system, particularly the immune response to vaccines.