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Groundbreaking study links household products to lowered immunity in children

Harvard researchers found exposure to common chemicals called PFCs may lower the number of antibodies in a child's body. NBC's Robert Bazell reports.

By Robert Bazell
NBC News


The study out today about certain chemicals and their effects on childhood vaccinations is groundbreaking. But it is not a reason for parents to panic.

Long ago animal studies found that chemicals called Perofluorinated Compounds (PFCs) could adversely affect the immune systems of animals. To its credit, the Environmental Protection Agency is working with the chemical industry to phase out most PFCs by the year 2015 on the basis of the animal studies.  All too often industry and regulatory agencies have dismissed animal studies.  What is significant about today’s study from the Harvard School of Public Health is that is shows that effects in animals can translate to people.

PFCs are in many things from food packaging to carpets.  They build up over time in the environment and our bodies.  The latest study—done on a population in a small fishing village in the Faroe Islands – found that the more PFCs moms and their children had in their blood, the weaker the antibody response was to childhood vaccines for diphtheria and typhoid. 

Why no need to panic?  Experts point out that there is no evidence that routine vaccinations are becoming any less effective in the United States even though the blood levels of people in the U.S. are similar to those in the study.  And the chemicals are being phased out anyway.  But it should make us wonder and perhaps look for more studies about all the other chemicals that are long lasting and building up all around us.

For more information on the Healthy Home Dream Team, the company featured in our broadcast that helps people remove potential dangers from their home, visit http://ronandlisa.com/.

Ron and Lisa Beres are healthy home consultants and authors of "Just Green It!" who advise people, like Michelle Schooley, on how to eliminate chemicals in their homes, making their environments healthier.