By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study being published today in the Journal of American Medicine indicates that compounds found in waterproof clothing and microwave popcorn may reduce the effectiveness of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines.

But is this really the case?

Dr. Sarah Long, chief of infectious diseases at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, in Philadelphia, says it could be.

“You can imagine things in the environment could affect that. So I wouldn’t reject it out of hand as some harebrained idea,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

But, she adds, “I think it’s important information to study further. Can these environmental toxins affect immune responsiveness?  But I think it is very much an overstatement to think this is going to leave children susceptible to tetanus and diphtheria.”

Dr. Long says parents shouldn’t worry, as there hasn’t been a case of diphtheria in this county for years.  Plus, she says, it’s difficult to know what level of exposure to that disease the children in this study had.  The research was conducted on children in the Faroe Islands, an island chain in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland.

Dr. Long says she would like to see a study of what effect these compounds have on the overall health of children.



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