Exposure to toxic chemicals correlates with limited vaccine response

Infant and mother exposure to chemicals correlates with limited vaccine response | Courtesy of
Scientists from the University of Rochester (UR) Environmental Health Sciences Center recently conducted a study that suggests having toxic chemical exposure in early life can inhibit a baby’s vaccine response.

These results could affect the health industry well past tuberculosis (TB) vaccine response and the two chemicals included in the study.

The chemicals included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCDs) and the insecticide DDT. These two chemicals are the most consistent pollutants in the world. The fact that these qualify as persistent pollutants means that they are not degraded. These pollutants and chemicals will continue to be a health threat for years after they are eliminated from the market.

In the study, which was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, the researchers specifically used TB vaccines as an example. The study involved 516 pairs of mothers and infants in eastern Slovakia, which is heavily polluted. They all qualified as being healthy.

"There are thousands of pollutants similar to PCBs and DDT with unknown health implications," Dr. Todd Jusko, an assistant professor in the UR Departments of Environmental Medicine and Public Health Sciences and leader of the study, said. "Our work provides a foundation for how these types of chemicals affect the developing immune system in infants around the world."