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Your Environment. Your Health.

Harvard School of Public Health

Immunotoxicity in humans with lifetime exposure to ocean pollutants

Philippe Grandjean, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grant: R01ES021993

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently discovered that perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which biomagnify in ocean food chains, can adversely affect human immune system development. The investigators are extending this discovery by studying existing and unique birth cohorts in the Faroe Islands and Greenland with high levels of seafood intake and traditional consumption of marine mammals high in ocean food chains. The researchers are assessing concentrations of specific antibodies in serum in response to childhood and adult immunizations and booster doses. They are then using advanced statistical models to determine the relative contributions by PFCs and other ocean pollutants at different developmental stages. Their work will generate benchmark dose levels for use in risk assessment and provide new insight into the adverse health effects for seafood consumers of oceans polluted with PFCs.


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