According to a recent article in USA Today, children exposed to perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are less responsive to vaccines. PFCs are used in the production of a large number of objects Americans encounter every day, as coatings on pizza boxes, paper plates, rainwear, upholstery and non-stick cookware. PFCs are easily absorbed into food and water. Therefore, the question is, even if you avoid the pizza box, are the chemicals already in your pizza?
Why Is PFC Exposure Harmful?
A recent article in The Atlantic Monthly publicized a study that provides shocking connections between PFC exposure and weakened vaccine response in children. The study observed 656 children born between 1999 and 2001 on the Faroe Islands in the Norwegian Sea.
PFC levels in the bloodstream were measured in the mothers before the children were born and in the children at ages five and seven. Results showed that by the time the children were ready to receive their booster shots for tetanus and diphtheria at age five, they had significantly high PFC levels and significantly decreased antibodies to the two diseases. Researchers concluded that the combination would prevent standard doses of vaccine from protecting these children from diphtheria and tetanus.
What Are Perfluorinated Compounds?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Plan, PFCs are synthetic chemicals produced commercially to provide stain, grease and water resistance to a variety of products. Two main PFCs under fire are perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOS is contained in fire fighting foam, and PFOAs are produced when paint and cleaning products degrade.
The EPA phased out use of PFOS in 2002, and use of PFOA is currently being phased out, but products that contain the compounds are still in use. According to the EPA, commercial production of PFC-laden products between 1970 and 2002 is estimated at 100,000 tons. Even worse news is that China has rapidly increased production of PFC-containing products in recent years.
What Can You Do?
Since PFCs are used to make water-, grease- and stain-resistant items, such as paint and cleaning products, it is recommended that you avoid these items. Avoid purchasing furniture and clothing marketed as stain resistant. It is also suggested that you avoid cooking with non-stick cookware. In addition, there is a large amount of PFC waste material released during the manufacture of these goods. Ultimately, since PFCs have been used to produce such a wide variety of merchandise, it is nearly impossible to avoid all contact.
If you or someone you love has been injured because of using products made with PFCs, contact our office. Our caring, knowledgeable attorneys will provide you with a free consultation. The timeframe in which to act is limited, so do not delay. You may be entitled to receive financial compensation.