The effect of perfluorides on the efficacy of vaccines has been confirmed

The effect of perfluorides on the efficacy of vaccines has been confirmed

In the past year, stricter standards for perfluorinated compounds have been proposed in North America and Europe. They were prompted by studies showing that these molecules, commonly used by industry, cause health effects at much lower concentrations than expected. A new study confirms this effect on the effectiveness of vaccines.

“The high risk of cancer from perfluorides occurred in particularly polluted environments,” explains Sébastien Chau, a chemist at the University of Montreal who published another study on the presence of perfluorides in drinking water in Quebec. “With studies on vaccines, we’re talking about the perfluorinated levels that we often find. »

Discovered in the 1940s, perfluorides are highly resistant, which is advantageous for industrial aspects, but allows them to accumulate in the environment and organisms without degradation. They are notably used in stain repellents, anti-adhesives and high-performance fire-fighting foams.

A meta-analysis of 14 studies on the effect of perfluorides on the effectiveness of vaccines showed that if the concentration of perfluorides in human blood is doubled, the effectiveness of some vaccines decreases by 5%. Published in the journal February Environment InternationalIt was carried out by researchers from the public and private sector on behalf of 3M, which has announced it will phase out the use of perfluorides by 2026.

This 5% drop is due to the presence of T lymphocytes, the soldiers of the immune system. Can it have a medical effect?

David Andrews, a biologist with the Environmental Working Group of the US NGO, who published a report on perfluorides in wildlife, said that several studies have confirmed that these molecules affect the immune system of animals, although no clinical effect has been shown.


Perfluorinated blood concentrations depend on ambient pollution. The C8 study, which followed the health of people exposed to perfluorinated spills near a factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia, reported blood levels 10 to 100 times higher than the average population. This pollution inspired the film Dark water With Mark Ruffalo.

The new study by Environment International is important because the first studies on the effects of perfluorides were carried out in the Danish Faroe Islands. “The consumption of fish, especially pilot dolphins, has a bioaccumulation of toxins because they are predators,” says Marc-André Werner, a toxicologist at the University of Montreal who studies perfluorides.

So a meta-analysis of several studies on vaccines confirms that this is a real effect.

Marc-Andre Werner, a toxicologist at the University of Montreal

Studies from the Faroe Islands have reported a four-fold effect of perfluorides on vaccine efficacy.

drinking water

M. Sauvé’s study was published in mid-February in the journal Water research, also explains the large variation in exposure to perfluorides. Thus, 5 of the 376 municipalities studied had perfluorine levels greater than 30 nanograms per liter, a standard proposed for drinking water in Canada. Peaks were over 100 ng/L in Val-d’Or and over 60 ng/L in Saint-Donat.

Mr. According to Sauvé, Val-d’Or has stopped receiving production from a particularly problematic well.

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But taking a standard from the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which proposes a value of less than 1 ng/L to avoid any health risk, only 5% of Quebec municipalities pass the test, Mr. Sauvé notes. .

A Montreal chemist has also decided to equip himself with a household filter to remove perfluorides from tap water after noting that Montreal water contains up to 13 ng/L of perfluorines. Even bottled water is free of perfluorine: a study published in 2018 The science of the total environment M. Sauvé showed that levels can go up to 5 ng/L.

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  • 15,000
    Number of Perfluorinated Products Listed by 3M in Maine

    Source: Northeastern University

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