Vaccine Preservative's Effects May Have
Williams / WFAA-TV Dallas
For decades, half of all
childhood vaccines contained a chemical preservative called thimerosal.
It is made from mercury, one of
the most poisonous substances on Earth.
News 8 has spent the past three
months investigating claims that government regulators and some
pharmaceutical companies knew of the dangers, but never told the public.
From the outset, it must be
stressed that this report is not anti-vaccination. Every person interviewed
for this story believes in the importance of having children immunized.
Rather, the focus is on the possible link between thimerosal and
Before the 1990s, 1 in 10,000
children were diagnosed with autism. But in the past decade, as the
government has increased the number of mandatory vaccines, some recent
studies suggest the rate of autism has risen to 1 in about 250 children.
how much mercury are we talking about?
Approximately 12 out of the 18
vaccine doses the average American child receives before the age of two
contain thimerosal. Cumulatively, that's more than 200 micrograms of
mercury, which would fit on the head of a pin.
According to the EPA, dropping
that pin-head of mercury into 23 gallons of water would make it unsafe for
human consumption. "Think about the idea of injecting your own child with
levels of mercury that are thirty to forty times what's considered safe for
an adult," Dallas attorney Andy Waters said. "And, I think if any human
being thinks about that very long, they recognize that this is something
that never should have happened."
Dr. Boyd Haley is the Chairman
of the Chemistry Department at the University of Kentucky. He's one of the
nation's leading experts on mercury poisoning and has studied thimerosal in
Thimerosal "is one of the most toxic compounds I know of," Haley said. "I
can't think of anything that I know of is more lethal."
Two years ago, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study, which showed that
three-month-old babies exposed to just 63 micrograms of mercury - less than
half of the aforementioned pin top - were two-and-a-half times more likely
to develop autism.
The study is stamped
"Confidential" and "Do Not Copy or Release." Siegel says it was never made
public because it was just a draft.
"Until they're final, and are
ready for publication, they're always considered a draft, not to be widely
distributed," Siegel said. "This preliminary information could be
distributed, and that could do harm." So why was it marked 'Confidential, Do
Not Release', rather than a simple 'Draft'?
Subsequently, the CDC did
release a report to the public, but the findings were much different. The
new study was amended with different data which lowered the autism rate.
Dr. Sidney Baker has reviewed
both reports. Baker has authored six medical books, and written scores of
articles on childhood behavior and autism.
Baker is critical of the CDC
"I can't imagine that smart
people could possibly have re-arranged the data the way they were done, and
represented the data the way they were done, without doing it on purpose and
with the express purpose, as you say, of a coverup," Baker said.
Baker treats hundreds of
autistic patients each year from around the country. He suspects that about
half of the children he sees have been affected by thimerosal from their
Baker said the CDC's refusal to
release raw data from the study for outside experts to evaluate - a standard
protocol in medical research - is helping to fuel the controversy.
Under pressure from the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, pharmaceutical companies agreed
to stop manufacturing vaccines containing thimerosal in March 2001. But
while production may have ceased, vaccine vials already containing
Thimerosal were not recalled.
A very simple solution for
parents worried about upcoming shots for children is to ask your doctor
ahead of time for thimerosal-free vaccines.
VSD Study - Phase I
FDA Thimerosal Report
CDC Thimerosal Information
Institute of Medicine - Thimerosal page
Part 2 of this report
That Contained Thimerosal
Tripedia (Pasteur Merieux Connaught), Acel-Immune (Wyeth-Ayerst),
Certiva (North American Vaccine)
- Td: All
TriHIBit (Aventis Pasteur)
HibTITER multidose (Wyeth-Ayerst), ProHIBit (Aventis Pasteur)
EngerixB (Glaxo-Smith Kline), RecombivaxHB (Merck)
Tips for Parents
Q: How can
I be sure my child is receiving a thimerosal free vaccine?
A: Ask your
pediatrician. If you are concerned your child's vaccine may contain
thimerosal, call your doctor's office ahead of your child's scheduled
visit and request Thimerosal-free inoculations. One sure sign of a
thimerosal free vaccine is a single dose vial as opposed to a multi-dose
vaccines still contain thimerosal?
Beginning in March 2001, thimerosal was no longer added as a preservative
to childhood vaccines though none were recalled. Some are still in
circulation. You can also ask to see the vial and package insert to check
and Deadly Viruses in Vaccines
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