Do you know what PFCs are? Perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, are common household chemicals found in products to prevent staining and sticking, such as non-stick cookware and stain resistant carpeting. They are even found in candy wrappers and other food packaging.
Pollution in People explains:
Why should I be concerned?
PFCs are very persistent. Even if production were to end today, levels would continue to increase in the environment for many years to come. Researchers are finding serious health concerns about PFCs, including increased risk of cancer.
- PFOA is a likely human carcinogen; it causes liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors in laboratory animals. PFOS causes liver and thryoid cancer in rats.
- PFCs cause a range of other problems in laboratory animals, including liver and kidney damage, as well as reproductive problems.
- PFOA’s half-life in our bodies, or the time it would take to expel half of a dose, is estimated at more than 4 years. PFOS’s half-life is estimated at more than 8 years.
We know that PFCs are bad for our health, but a new study says they may be interfering with vaccine effectiveness as well.
Parents who vaccinate feel they are protecting their children. Putting all potential side effects aside, even vaccinated children sometimes still contract the very illness they are assumed to be protected from by the shots. Take for example Pertussis/Whooping Cough, as TribStar.com explains:
We do see cases of kids appropriately vaccinated who still get the disease,” said Angie Cierzniewski, a state vaccine preventable disease epidemiologist.
“Some vaccines we think of as rockstars — they work exceptionally well and it’s almost unheard of to get the disease once a person is vaccinated,” she said, giving the example of the vaccine for measles.
The pertussis vaccine “is not a rockstar,” she said. It’s possible to be fully vaccinated and get the disease, she said. Typically, the disease would be less severe if the person is fully vaccinated.
Could exposure to common household chemicals like PFCs be interfering with vaccine effectiveness? Time Healthland reports:
In the report, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, chair of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, and his colleagues studied a group of 587 children born between 1999 to 2001 in the Faroe Islands. The researchers chose that population, located in the north Atlantic, since most residents rely on the sea to survive, and recent studies have recorded increasing amounts of PFCs in the drinking water and fish there.
All of the children received the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine at 3 months, and a booster at 5. The scientists tested the children’s antibodies to diphtheria and tetanus at age 5, just before they received their booster shot, and again when they were 7. In addition, the team also drew the children’s blood to test for PFCs.
When the researchers compared the participants’ antibody levels to the levels of PFCs in their blood, they were surprised to find that higher levels of PFCs were linked with a lower immune response. In fact, kids whose PFC levels were twice as high had half the amount of antibodies to diphtheria and tetanus, compared with children who tested lower for PFCs. At age 7, kids with a twofold increase in PFC levels were also two to four times more likely to show an immune response that was so low that it was no longer clinically protective.
We can not underestimate the effect common household chemicals have on both our natural health and the medicines we rely on to keep us healthy.