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Health Effects of Vaccines: 'Mercury in Medicine' — Investigative Report Published in the Congressional Record

Photograph by Melissa Wiese.
Photograph by Melissa Wiese.

By Ronald David Jackson
The following "Mercury in Medicine" report was added to the Congressional Record on May 20, 2003.  The report was prepared by the staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, Committee on Government Reform. The report is the result of a three-year investigation initiated in the Committee on Government Reform. The key findings of the investigation are highlighted with black outlines and in some cases with black and yellow outlines. Some of the key findings include:

1) No one knows for sure if vaccines are safe or unsafe because while there are studies comparing health outcomes in those who did and did not get the vaccine (epidemiological studies) - the vaccines themselves (and more importantly, the various ingredients in the vaccines) have never been thoroughly tested for safety in humans. Specifically: "The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has never required manufacturers to conduct adequate safety testing on thimerosal and ethylmercury compounds."

2) As the rate of autism has grown at epidemic proportions during the last two decades, the number of childhood vaccines containing thimerosal was growing, increasing the amount of ethylmercury to which infants were exposed threefold.

3) The Institute of Medicine (an American non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1970) determined that a relationship between autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and speech or language delay, and the increased use of thimerosal in vaccines is plausible and deserves more scrutiny (even though there was not enough evidence to support or reject this hypothesis).

4) In 1998, the FDA finalized a rule requiring that ethylmercury be removed from over-the-counter products like topical ointments and skin creams (suggesting that ethylmercury—used as a preservative in many vaccines—could be hazardous to health) . Yet it took the FDA 18 years to get around to doing this, even though an advisory committee determined that ethylmercury was unsalfe in these products in 1980.
5) The FDA and the CDC [Center for Disease Control] failed in their duty to be vigilant as new vaccines containing thimerosal were approved and added to the immunization schedule. When the Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B vaccines were added to the recommended schedule of childhood immunizations, the cumulative amount of ethylmercury to which children were exposed nearly tripled.

6) The amount of ethylmercury to which children were exposed through vaccines exceeded the safety thresholds established by the Federal government for a closely related substance methylmercury, "experts agree that the methylmercury guidelines are a good substitute."

7) Federal health officials have conceded that the amount of thimerosal in vaccines exceeded the EPA threshold of 0.1 micrograms per kilogram of bodyweight. "In fact, the amount of mercury in one dose of DTaP or Hepatitis B vaccines (25 micrograms each) exceeded this threshold many times over.

8) The FDA has: a) Failed to require the pharmaceutical industry to conduct extensive safety studies on thimerosal or ethylmercury. b) Failed to require the pharmaceutical industry to conduct adequate testing to determine how thimerosal is metabolized. c) Failed to require the pharmaceutical industry to determine the maximum safe exposure level to thimerosal.

9) Over the course of two decades the FDA slowly removed ethylmercury from many medicinal products - WHY?

10) In June of 2000, the CDC's Advisory Committe on Immunization Practice met in Atlanta. One of the key factors that weighed against a recommendation for a preference for thimerosal-free vaccines was the financial health of the vaccine industry. A recommendation for thimerosal-free vaccine had "the potential for financial losses of existing inventories", "could harm one or more manufacturers and may then decreased the number of suppliers", and "could entail financial losses for all existing stocks of vaccines that contain thimerosal."

It appears that protecting the industry's profits took precedent over protecting children from mercury damage.


Mercury in Medicine

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