(HealthDay News) – Increased exposure to perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) is associated with reduced immune response to childhood vaccinations, according to a study published in the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To investigate whether PFC exposure was associated with antibody response to childhood vaccinations, Philippe Grandjean, MD, DMSc, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of a birth cohort comprising 656 singleton births recruited during 1999 to 2001, 587 of whom were followed through 2008. The main outcomes measured were serum antibody concentrations against tetanus and diphtheria toxoids.

The investigators found that perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) exhibited the strongest negative association with antibody concentration at age 5; a two-fold increased concentration of maternal exposure was linked to a difference of −39% in the diphtheria antibody concentration. PFCs in the child’s serum at age 5 were almost universally negatively associated with antibody levels, especially at age 7. For the overall antibody concentration, a two-fold greater concentration of major PFCs was linked with a −49% difference. At age 5, a two-fold increase in PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid concentrations was more likely to be associated with falling below a clinically protective level for tetanus and diphtheria antibodies at 7 years of age.

“Elevated exposures to PFCs in Faroese children aged 5 and 7 years were associated with reduced humoral immune response to routine childhood immunizations,” the authors write.

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