- E-WIRE PRESS RELEASE
- Continuing Use of Mercury in Vaccines Questioned Consumer
Groups Call On Drug Makers, Congress and the White House to Stop Thimerosal
- WASHINGTON, DC (E-Wire)--
Parents and advocates are meeting today on Capital Hill to ask the Nationâs
leaders and pharmaceutical companies to stop using the mercury preservative
thimerosal in all vaccines, to inform Americans about vaccines with mercury,
and to recall existing thimerosal stocks from health care facilities.
Mercury is a known neurotoxin and has been linked to brain disorders including
autism, Alzheimerâs and other chronic neurological dysfunction.
- "Why are vaccine makers still using thimerosal and
unnecessarily exposing infants, pregnant women an unsuspecting Americans÷including
members of Congress÷to mercury?" asked Michael Bender, Director,
Mercury Policy Project. "Vaccines are supposed to help prevent health
problems and not create them. Continued use of mercury in medical products
for any human use, where avoidable, is simply irresponsible and not worth
- US health and governmental officials seem to agree.
In 1982, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert panel recommended
that mercury be eliminated from over-the-counter health products. In 1999,
the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged manufacturers
to remove thimerosal from childhood vaccines. In 2001, the Institute of
Medicine recommended that children and pregnant women avoid thimerosal
- While today, most but not all infant vaccines are mercury-free,
the preservative is still added to formulations for influenza (flu vaccines),
diphtheria-tetanus, tetanus, hepatitis B, pneumococcal and rabies. This
year the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended for the first time
that healthy children receive influenza vaccine. No influenza vaccines
are available that are completely mercury-free, although two brands only
contain trace amounts.
- "During the past decade children were given many
more vaccines containing mercury, and the rate of autism skyrocketed. Mercury
can cause the same symptoms and abnormalities we see in autism. Like lead
exposures, there is no "safe" level for mercury," said Sallie
Bernard, Director, SAFE MINDS. "The removal of thimerosal from OTC
products and most childhood vaccines shows this preservative is an absolutely
unnecessary ingredient. We urge that US policies be changed and that vaccines
manufacturers completely and unequivocally refrain from using this deadly
toxin without delay."
- The US health science panel that extensively reviewed
thimerosal was unable to "either accept or reject a causal relationship"
between autism and thimerosal, and stated that additional studies were
needed. According to the Institute of Medicineâs 2001 Immunization
Safety Review Committee, "While the available scientific data do not
establish that these neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by thimerosal,
at the same time, they do not establish that these neurodevelopmental disorders
are not caused by thimerosal. The hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal-containing
vaccines could be associated with neuordevelopmental disorders was biologically
- "Vaccine manufacturers have now been given protection
from financial liability for mercury-related vaccine injuries in the Homeland
Security Act so they donât have to worry about the harm it's caused
to the brains of children and adults," said Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-founder
& President, National Vaccine Information Center. "They may be
off the hook financially but they are not off the hook morally. They should
do the right thing and make all vaccines mercury-free.
- To view the Center for Disease Controls list of influenza
vaccines containing mercury, see: http://www.909shot.com/Issues/mercury.htm.
- To view the manufacturers list of vaccines still containing
mercury, see: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm.
- More information is available at ö aap.org/advocacy/archives/julvacc.htm
- Mercury Policy Project
- Michael Bender, Mercury Project 802-223-9000; 802-249-8543
- Sallie Bernard, SAFEMINDS 908 295-6648
- Barbara Loe Fisher, National Vaccine Information Center