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Exposure to toxins reduces the effectiveness of immunisation and more

Researchers have found that when children have been accidentally exposed to a group of chemicals widely used in industry (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs) vaccination against infections provides them with less protection than is the case for unexposed children.

The research was carried out in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, where people have often been exposed to high levels of PCBs through eating contaminated whale blubber. The children in the study received standard, routine vaccinations against diphtheria and tetanus. The researchers measured both the level of PCBs in the children's bodies and the level of protective antibodies against the two diseases produced in response to the vaccinations. They found that the higher the level of PCB exposure, the lower the level of antibody protection. The study shows that every effort must be made to reduce the exposure of young children to chemicals that could harm their immune systems.


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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
21-Aug-2006


Page: 1

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