Vaccinations are hands down the most controversial topic that is discussed in wellness & parenting. Mamavation has mostly stayed out of this topic, but recently the World Health Organization came out saying that anti-vax parents (and really we should say moms) are a threat to the global public. And I’m here to call BS on something. If the medical industry was so concerned about herd immunity with vaccination rates in the United States, why are they so silent on PFAS chemicals and their impact on the effectiveness of vaccines? There is a class of chemicals we are all exposed to in our everyday lives that have the ability to make vaccines for EVERYONE less effective and no one is talking about it. These are perfluorinated chemicals used in nonstick food wrapping, nonstick pans, stain-resistant clothing, and carpeting. You’ve trusted Mamavation to cover several topics like how PFAS chemicals were found in Oral B Glide dental floss, which grocery stores are protecting you from PFAS chemicals in their food wrapping, & safest pots & pans to select that don’t have PFAS chemicals, now join with us as we explore the issue of vaccinations and why they’ve decided to put the entire blame on moms instead of also calling out the big bad chemical companies.
Vaccination herd immunity is compromised by more than just women in the westside of Los Angeles. So let’s be honest about this. Instead of blaming the world on women (yet again guys!), wouldn’t it be wiser to take a look at other things that are causing a problem? There is one other glaring issue out there that is staring them in the face, but everyone keeps ignoring it–PFAS chemicals are linked with lowering the effectiveness of vaccines. Why haven’t I heard anything about this other than inside science journals? Have they covered it in the media? Nope. Why? There isn’t a PR machine behind the idea that this chemical we come in contact with every day may be problematic. But such a thing exists blaming the death of herd immunity on westside moms. That concerns me because I’m not seeing an honest attempt at solving the problem, I’m seeing men in white lab coats slinging dung at women with children.
Does Mamavation Believe You Should Vaccinate Your Kids?
Yes, I believe that vaccines are one of the best inventions in modern times. There are myriads of diseases that we don’t have to worry about today because of vaccinations. And I’m very grateful for that. And one of the most common personal questions I get every day is “do you vaccinate your kids?” When I say, “yes, I do” they either love me more or hate me and never want to talk to me again. That’s unfortunate that a medical decision, such as whether to vaccinate or not, would automatically make all the work I do invalid to them, but it does. But personally, I don’t like the idea of forcing parents to vaccinate against their will so I’m not in support of what California did either. And I also don’t believe that making moms the enemy to the entire medical industry is wise either. Why? Honestly, because they are have been the victims since the beginning of modern medicine. (more on that soon…)
I’m not here to debate the ins and outs of vaccination. What I am here to do is bring up a new perspective, you may not have heard. Actually, I’m almost positive you’ve never heard this. But before I do that, let me be incredibly clear about my relationship with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Mamavation has worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics in the past, but we do not have an official partnership with them. We were successful in lobbying them to kick Monsanto out of their organization as a sponsor years ago. (You’re welcome.) And today we have two scientific advisors that are also spokespeople for the AAP. But this doesn’t stop us from looking into possible signs of hypocrisy in the industry overall. And we believe that when it comes to attacking moms about vaccinations, the industry isn’t telling you the full story. What would be scarier would be if they don’t know the full story. But I digress…
What Are PFAS Chemicals And Why Are They Connected to Vaccinations?
PFAS chemicals, also known as perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs aka PFOA & PFAS) are used in grease-proof paper, cardboard food packaging like pizza boxes, carpeting, stain-resistant clothing, nonstick pans, and water. It’s too many abbreviations, I know. But when you see PFAS, PFCs, PFOA, PFOS or C8, it’s all the same chemical class and all of it is problematic to your hormonal health. These chemicals are used for water and grease resistance and have become ubiquitous in modern times. Therefore, it’s very popular in fast food and fast casual settings, inside homes, and at work. But these chemicals are extremely problematic to human health and the environment and contaminating the water supply all over the United States. And the worst part is they are persistent, meaning they build up and don’t go away.
Here is the list of health problems perfluorinated chemicals are linked with.
- low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- reduction in immunity
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- reduced vaccination response
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- interfere with the body’s natural hormones
- increase cholesterol levels
- increase the risk of cancer like testicular, prostate and breast cancers
Based on the persistence of this chemical inside the body, it’s incredibly dangerous to be exposed throughout a lifetime because it will continue to build up. Therefore, it’s important to avoid these chemicals as much as possible. And if you are worried about herd immunity because you are sick or have loved ones that are vulnerable, it’s wise to avoid these chemicals as much as possible.
The Medical Industry is Suffering From a Lack of Trust So No Wonder Vaccination Rates are Decreasing
I’m sure it’s not a surprise to anyone that women are losing trust in the medical industry in general because this is also a trend in other patriarchal industries. Look around. Several other industries are losing face right now and are having to change the way they treat women in order to survive. However, I’m not sure the medical industry got the memo. And if you are a woman who’s left the doctor’s office before feeling worse about yourself then when you went in, you probably understand what I’m talking about. You walked in looking for a partner in health and you walked out feeling like you are 2 inches tall. Did they ignore your symptoms? Did they lecture you about your weight and ignore why you went to them in the first place? Did they push pills on you too quickly? Did they rush you? Did they make you wait an hour and then only have five minutes for you? That was fine for the 1950’s but it doesn’t elicit trust from women today.
Wait, you don’t think there is sexism in medicine? I can slay that idea with several factoids about how women fare worse in healthcare than men.
- Women have a 50% higher chance of being misdiagnosed, even after having a heart attack
- Women who go to the emergency room because of abdominal pain — not related to pregnancy or a known injury — were less likely to get pain meds OR waited longer to get the medication they needed
- A report called “The Girl Who Cried Pain” found that women were more likely to have their pain dismissed as “emotional” or “not real.” They also found that doctors were less likely to take aggressive treatment like they were with men.
- “Women in almost all age groups also have higher rates of death during hospitalization for heart attack than men do,” says Elsa-Grace Giardina, MD, a professor of medicine and founder of the Center for Women’s Health at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
- Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die in a hospital than a man
- Women are about 30% more likely than men to have symptoms of a stroke misdiagnosed and be erroneously sent home from the emergency room. And even once they are diagnosed, women are less likely to receive the clot-busting drug tPA than men.
- Many autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders, are more common in women and more likely misdiagnosed. Overall, 75% of Americans with autoimmune diseases are women, and it takes a person with an autoimmune disease an average of 4.6 years and five doctors before getting a correct diagnosis and able to start a real treatment plan
Hey Docs! You Don’t Have a Vaccination Problem. You Have a Trust Problem.
I know all you want to do is talk about vaccinations and how these westside moms are going to get everyone infected with whopping cough, but how about we talk about the real issue here. This wouldn’t be happening in the first place if you made it a priority to earn the trust of women. And women are pretty disappointed with this relationship in their life. And some of them are breaking up with you. After hearing all this, can you blame them? It dangerous to be female and inside the medical industry. But we wanted to help you repair this relationship so we asked the Mamavation community on Facebook what you could do to build on more trust.
- Start recommending organic food and talk to patients about chemicals inside their home and on their plates that could impact their hormonal health. Want to learn more? Here’s a great book by Leonardo Trasande, M.D. called Sicker Fatter Poorer to help you with that conversation.
- Take some measures to stop exposing your patients (especially babies) to hormone-disrupting chemicals within your practice. The SafetyNEST practice in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco & Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center has some tips for you here.
- Stop rolling your eyes at patients that combine eastern and western medicine together. You aren’t going to win this battle. Perhaps you could look into some of these practices and try them out yourself so you have something to bond with your patient about.
- Stop lecturing patients on their weight when they came to you with something that has nothing to do with their weight. Telling them they are fat doesn’t really introduce them to anything they don’t already know. But it does serve the purpose of making them uncomfortable and possibly losing them as a patient.
- Stop downgrading the seriousness of the symptoms women tell you about. Take what we say at face value please just as you would a man. You’re literally killing us!
- Start listening more and withhold judgment. It’s that sense of “he’s/she’s judging me” that keeps them from coming back to your office.
- Separate the sick and the well in separate rooms when they are waiting, please
- My time is precious and I can’t get it back. When my appointment is at 3pm, I want to see the doctor at 3pm. When you don’t have respect for my time, I have less respect for you.
Quick Tips to Avoid PFAS Chemicals In Your Home
Okay, so now that you know PFAS chemicals are extremely problematic to your health and may be complicating herd immunity, your own immune system etc. what do you do about it? Well, avoid it as much as possible and Mamavation is here to help you with all that! The perfluorinated chemical category is all about making things grease-proof, water-proof and stain-proof. So think about stain-proof clothing & carpeting, nonstick pans & bakeware, fast food wrappers, etc. And here is a list of what you can do today to start avoiding these chemicals in your life.
- Phase out the nonstick cookware in your kitchen. Here are some alternatives.
- Avoid foods with packaging and make things yourself at home
- Avoid fast food as much as possible, even the ones touting themselves as “better”
- Purchase a reverse osmosis water system for your home
- When purchasing furniture or carpet, decline optional treatments for stain and dirt resistance. This is where you can find safer furniture.
- Avoid buying clothing that bears a label indicating it’s water, stain or dirt repellant
- Avoid buying personal care products with the phrase “fluoro” or “perfluoro” on the ingredient list. You’ll find this inside lotion, pressed powders, nail polish, and shaving cream.