We’ve heard a lot of reasons for and against childhood vaccinations. Some people don’t think they work, and that they are unnecessary. Now, another reason you can add to your list of reasons you should consider not vaccinating, apparently according to 1 study, if your child eats microwave popcorn, the vaccine might not work!
Yes, you read that correctly! Microwave popcorn is one reason your child may not be protected, even if you vaccinated them.
Here’s the lowdown on this wacky idea…that sounds to me much like an excuse trying to validate why vaccinations don’t work for everyone!
In the new study, children who had higher concentrations of compounds, called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), in their blood had lower immune responses to diphtheria and tetanus vaccinations. PFC’s can be found in common household items, such as microwave popcorn, furniture, cosmetics, and food packaging.
And, according to the study an insufficient immune response to a vaccination can mean a child is actually vulnerable to catching a disease even though they’ve been vaccinated against it.
“When we take our kids to the doctor’s office to get their shots, we expect that the vaccines are going to work,” said study researcher Dr. Philippe Grandjean, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “What we found was that there was an increasing risk that they didn’t work if the kids had been exposed to the PFCs,” Grandjean said.
The study is provocative, but the findings are not of immediate public health concern, said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
“These are illnesses that have been virtually eliminated from children,” in the United States, Schaffner said.
However, Schaffner said investigations into the link between vaccines’ effectiveness and PFCs, along with other potential environmental hazards, should continue.
PFCs have thousands of uses in manufacturing, and most people have the compounds in their bodies, Grandjean said. They are slow to break down and persist for many years in the environment.
Grandjean and colleagues analyzed data from 587 children living in the Faroe Islands, in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Scotland and Iceland. These islands were chosen because their inhabitants frequently consume seafood, which is associated with increased exposure to PFCs. Still, overall,levels of PFCs in this area are similar to those found in other countries, including the United States, Grandjean said.
PFC blood levels from five-year-old children were tested along with immune responses to tetanus and diphtheria vaccines when the children were five and seven years of age, said MSNBC. The children received full vaccines against these diseases and a booster shot at age five. The research revealed that the higher the PFC blood levels, the lower the response to the vaccination. As a matter-of-fact, children with the highest PFC levels were also two-to-four times likelier to test with antibodies in their blood at levels below what is believed to sufficient to protect against the diseases, said MSNBC.
It’s not clear exactly how people come to accumulate levels of PFCs in their body, so advice on how to avoid them may not necessarily work. But Grandjean said, “It would be prudent to avoid microwave popcorn [and] treatment of furniture, carpets, shoes and clothing with stain repellants,” unless they are known not to contain PFCs.
Future studies into the health impact of PFCs should examine their effect on the immune system, Grandjean said. The researchers would also like to know if exposure to PFCs is associated with a reduced immune response to other vaccinations.
The study was published Jan. 25, 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.