Vaccinations and allergy shots causing allergies to aluminium

A Swedish study has found a link between the aluminium used in vaccinations and the development of contact allergy to aluminium. A recent study in Gothenburg found that 1% of youngsters who received the whooping cough vaccination (containing aluminium) developed small (pruritic) nodules under the skin in the vicinity of the shot. 75% of these children became allergic to aluminium. Aluminium allergy was once extremely rare, but for the last 70-odd years aluminium has been used in vaccinations as an adjuvant, with only a very small number of nodules reported, or development of allergic contact dermatitis.

Eva Netterlid, conducting research into the vaccine/allergy connection at the Occupational and Environmental Dermatology Unit in Malmo, Sweden, thinks the increase is due both to the increase in the number of  vaccinations (partly due to air travel) and to a change in the  aluminium compound.

The research team have also being studying the effects of hyposensitisation, an allergy treatment that involves injecting the sufferer with increasing amounts of their particular allergen in order for the immune response to be dampened down. This treatment that uses aluminium compounds as an adjuvant or intensifier, and this might be triggering aluminium allergies.

Netterlid’s team found a high number of reactions in children treated with the aluminium-containing allergy shots – of 37 treated, allergic contact dermatitis from aluminium developed in eight and pruritic nodules developed in 13. A group of 24 children with allergies were included as the control group, none of whom had received the allergy shots, and none of them had or developed the nodules or an allergy to aluminium

Netterlid and colleagues are currently carrying out research to determine whether particular compounds of aluminium are more likely to produce allergies.

Source: Contact Dermatitis. 2009

First published in January 2011


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