|Exposure to chemicals in early childhood |
may affect a kid's response to vaccinations.
PFCs is short for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a group of synthetic chemicals commonly used in nonstick cookware, carpets, upholstery, food packaging and more. Previous studies have shown that the chemicals are present in most people’s bloodstreams.
In the first study of its kind on humans, researchers from the United States and Denmark found that high levels of exposure to these chemicals in early childhood may be associated with a reduced response to two routine immunizations.
They followed 587 children in the Faroe Islands (between Iceland and Norway) between 1999 and 2001, where a high intake of seafood is linked with increased exposure to PFCs.
The two vaccines in question are the tetanus and diphtheria immunizations that are given at 3, 5 and 12 months of age and a booster shot at age 5.
The study shows that all five PFCs in the study appeared to be linked to lower antibody levels. The children’s response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccines at age 7 was only half of what it should have been if they showed high levels of PFCs in their blood.
The next questions the researchers need to answer are:
- Does this link point to a general immune system dysfunction and
- Could this also affect their risk of infections, allergies or cancer?
The findings appear in the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal of the Medical Association.
Reduce your chemical exposure at home
Experts suggest avoiding products made with PFCs as much as possible, including nonstick cookware and microwave popcorn.
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Homeowners should also vacuum their rugs and upholstery often to reduce household dust levels.
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