Thimerosal


So, commenter “Pat Sullivan, Jr.”:http://www.patsullivan.com (author and CEO of “Jigsaw Health”:http://www.jigsawhealth.com/? Update: Pat clarifies his role with Jigsaw Health in the comments. Thanks Pat!) has “asked me to weigh in”:http://www.randomjohn.info/wordpress/2005/09/15/ranting-and-raving-again-about-healthcare-and-the-magical-clinical-trial/#comment-60 on the thimerosol debate. For the uninitiated, thimerosal is a compound added to vaccines to increase shelf life. One of its components is mercury, a heavy metal which the FDA(Food and Drug Administration) and EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) both warn about on a regular basis in connection with pollution and fish. The debate is between the sides that believe that thimerosol increases incidence of autism and the side that insists that thimerosol is completely safe. Both sides have their salvos of studies that “confirm” one of the hypotheses, and both sides have contigents of statisticians and scientists ready to pick apart the other side’s studies in any way it can.

Personally, I have no fscking clue whether thimerosal leads to autism. I have trouble following the studies and arguments against studies, and quite frankly I don’t have the time to. As a father of a 2-year-old and father-to-be, this is damn frustrating because even the doctors don’t seem to know enough about the subject.

Even more confusing is why people are defending thimerosal so vehemently. I mean seriously, it’s just a compound. It’s not somebody’s son, or a production of literature, or prototype of the next generation flying device. It’s just thimerosal. It’s designed to increase the shelf-life of vaccines (or maybe the discovery of that use was a happy accident). Certainly with our great advances in science there are other ways that vaccine shelf-life can be enhanced, or perhaps the vaccine distribution system can be modified so that shelf-life is not as much of a factor. So, why not take it out? Our regulatory agencies are so convinced that heavy metals are hazardous, except when they are used in thimerosal? I mean, Crestor has warnings and dose restrictions on the basis of just a few cases of rhabdomyolysis; why should we treat thimerosal any more leniently?

I’m not advocating throwing away any compound that raises questions. But this particular one has been studied for years, and has two camps that don’t relent. The studies are less illuminating than confusing. It doesn’t answer any questions in my mind, and I’m not wanting to take the chance if I don’t have to. (Smallpox vaccine during a potential outbreak is a completely different story.)

While we’re on the subject, why the hell are we giving our children 3 or 4 vaccines at once? Can’t we space it out a little bit? That’s a lot to ask of our children.

If anyone can point me to data (not results, but actual datasets) on the matter, I’d love to see it. Maybe when I have a few hours to kill, I can do my own exploration.

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22 Responses

  1. Point of clarification: I am the co-founder and President of Jigsaw Health. Pat Sullivan is my Dad. He is the co-founder and CEO of Jigsaw Health, and author of “Wellness Piece by Piece.” (You can guess who gets to mop the floors! 😉 )

    I agree with you that the PUBMED citation, “my scientist can debunk your scientist” battles are confusing and frustrating. I have no kids but Lord willing, my wife and I will have a few in the next couple of years and all this mess will get straightened out by then. But I doubt it!

    I wish I could point you to datasets, but I’m not the right person. I do hope you find it though because I would be interested in your analysis. The “widely-discredited” Dr. Mark Geier is one of the only people I am aware of who has actually had a chance to review raw data. Start by watching his interview here:

    http://www.autismmedia.org/media2.html

  2. The debate is between the sides that believe that thimerosol increases incidence of autism and the side that insists that thimerosol is completely safe.

    No its not. Its between a side that believes thiomersal causes autism and a side 9that I subscribe to) that believes it doesn’t. I’ll state it quite publicly – Mercury is a bad thing. Its good its not in vaccines anymore. This is what I for one have said all along.

    Both sides have their salvos of studies that “confirm� one of the hypotheses, and both sides have contigents of statisticians and scientists ready to pick apart the other side’s studies in any way it can.

    No they don’t. The anti-thiomersal side have no science whatsoever that proves a causative link between Thiomersal and autism. By contrast there are several that refute it. There are also numerous studies that refute the MMR link too.

    So, why not take it out? Our regulatory agencies are so convinced that heavy metals are hazardous, except when they are used in thimerosal?

    Did you do any reading for yourself before you hit ‘publish’?

    In the UK thiomersal was only ever used in one vaccine – DTP. In the US it was used much more liberally. Its now out of both although there remain residual stocks in the US as I understand it. I mentioned both countries because our autism prevalence is very similar. Funny how we never used the same amount of thiomersal though eh?

    Here’s why a lot of parents of autistic kids (of whom I am one and of whom Pat Sullivan is not) get really annoyed with this continuing obsession with vaccines.

    Firstly, the amount of research money being spent on valid interventions to help our kids with comorbidities they have is dwindling. In the UK it amounts to 8% of the total spend. if we disappear further down this biomedical dead end, this number will only dwindle further.

    Secondly, from a societal point of view, this situation is having an ongoing effect on vaccines take up. Kids are suffering. At least one has died. Herd immunity is in danger.

    Thirdly, the prefered method of treatment for the anti-thiomersal brigade is Chelation. This is a proceedure to remove heavy metal from the body. There are many forms it takes. One form, TD DMPS is peddled by a quack by the name of Rashid Buttar. No stdies on the safety or eficacy of TD DMPS have ever been conducted, despite Buttars claims that they would be. He charges $800 per session apparently. He also claims to be able to cure cancer and reverse aging.

    Another form of chelation, EDTA IV is very strongly implicated in the recent death of a 5 year old autistic boy. EDTA strongly chelates Calcium as well – this boy died of a heart attack. He’s not the first autistic to be killed by people trying to cure autism.

    Lastly and most importantly, the description of autism as a plague, or an epidemic, or a fate worse than death or an abyss or any other demeaning term one wishes to read about only serves to add to the negative stigma that already surrounds autism and autistics.

    You’re involving yourself in a debate that you seem woefully uninformed about. At the very least try and read about the reality before you blindly swallow whatever you’re told.

  3. Kev,

    I’m not really sure what the point of your comment is. Your tone is quite combative — you have come onto my blog saying “At the very least try and read about the reality before you blindly swallow whatever you’re told.” That’s combative, and I don’t appreciate it. Opinions are welcome. Bullying is not, no matter what your qualifications, experience, or point of view is.

    If you notice, I’ve stayed away from the chelation topic because the first time I heard of it is about two months ago and I know only the idea behind it. And, given the speed with which quackbusters hurl the “quack” insult, I don’t buy that label very quickly any more (nor do I readily believe that chelation “works”).

    I’d sad for your that your daughter has autism, and I’m glad you’ve been able to accept it. I know people who aren’t anywhere close to that. Working on acceptance of autistic children isn’t incompatible with removing possible causes, and telling other people that they are blindly swallowing whatever they’re told (and being absolutely wrong about it) isn’t going to help your cause. And saying that other people don’t have autistic children and that disqualifies them from commenting (or reduces the value of their comments) only serves to alienate people and doesn’t help discourse at all.

    Good luck.

  4. I apologise if you feel my tone is combative. As someone who cares for someone with autism it makes me angry to see autism (which is *not* sad for my daughter – if you came and met her you’d find a happy little girl) and misinformation about autism so readily bandied about.

    I find it combative and bullying to hear things like your piece above which you make no attempt to learn about autism or how it affects people on a daily basis. I assure you Orac (who you and Pat both seem to have a thing for) took the trouble to ask questions about autism of autistics and parents alike.

    My daughter will grow up autistic. My sincere hope is that misinformation about autism, its causes and its treatment will not continue to stigmatise her young life.

  5. bq. I find it combative and bullying to hear things like your piece above which you make no attempt to learn about autism or how it affects people on a daily basis. I assure you Orac (who you and Pat both seem to have a thing for) took the trouble to ask questions about autism of autistics and parents alike.

    Again, you are making assumptions about myself, Pat, and Orac. You know absolutely nothing about my experience except for maybe what you’ve read in this blog, and you’ve happened to make an incorrect statement about it.

    I applaud your sincere hope. Again, I don’t see the efforts to cure autism as incompatible with acceptance of it.

  6. And besides, will you please explain the misinformation in the following statements, which happens to be my stated position on thimerosal (which is the topic at hand):

    bq. Personally, I have no fscking clue whether thimerosal leads to autism. I have trouble following the studies and arguments against studies, and quite frankly I don’t have the time to. As a father of a 2-year-old and father-to-be, this is damn frustrating because even the doctors don’t seem to know enough about the subject.

    and

    bq. Even more confusing is why people are defending thimerosal so vehemently. I mean seriously, it’s just a compound. It’s not somebody’s son, or a production of literature, or prototype of the next generation flying device. It’s just thimerosal. It’s designed to increase the shelf-life of vaccines (or maybe the discovery of that use was a happy accident). Certainly with our great advances in science there are other ways that vaccine shelf-life can be enhanced, or perhaps the vaccine distribution system can be modified so that shelf-life is not as much of a factor. So, why not take it out? Our regulatory agencies are so convinced that heavy metals are hazardous, except when they are used in thimerosal? I mean, Crestor has warnings and dose restrictions on the basis of just a few cases of rhabdomyolysis; why should we treat thimerosal any more leniently?

    Is it that I’m trying to avoid a situation where I unnecessarily inflict conditions on my children? If your point is that we should love and cherish our children with autism, then your point is well taken. If your point is that we should leave thimerosal on the market because you believe one set of studies or not another or autism isn’t such a bad thing or whatever, then leave your daughter out of this and let’s debate that.

  7. The question isn’t whether Thimerosal should remain on the market, or more specifically in pediatric vaccines, that question has been answered and it was removed years ago. The question is whether thimerosal caused or contributed to all, or any cases, of autism and will removal result in a significant decline in new autism diagnoses. So now that you know the key points why don’t you go ahead and choose a side or make an argument for thimerosal as a cause or for any of the products from http://www.patsullivan.com as a cure.

  8. Hand me the datasets from the studies and I’ll give you an answer. (May not be the “right” answer, but it’ll be the best one I can give.)

    I’ll let Pat speak for his own products. I have little information on them.

    And as a point of clarification: “completely safe” and “remain on the market” and any similar phrases do apply to pediatric vaccines and only to those cases. The evaluation of thimerosal in any other capacity is outside the scope of this discussion. I apologize if I haven’t made that clear.

    Look, I’m not here to support or criticize anybody’s products. That’s not my intent at all here. In the event that I need to (and only in that event, because I have other things on my plate right now), I will and I might even share here.

    I’m just a father who happens to know a couple of things about the pharmaceutical process, and, even given that knowledge, still has a hard time wading through the information on thimerosal and pediatric vaccination in general. Given that I have to make those decisions for other people, I find this a rather frightening position, especially since I know that what comes across as assertions of fact are really statements of population tendencies in this field.

    Your efforts to pin me to a position on thimerosal and its effect on autism or whatever else will ultimately fail. Given that I don’t have the financial resources to conduct my own studies that follow Good Clinical/Laboratory Practice guidelines and can’t trust those who have, I’m pretty much left with the necessity to make the decision, for my own family, that says that if alternatives that at least as safe are available, then I’m going to choose them. And why the hell are people so vehemently defending the compound in question anyway?

  9. Quote: And why the hell are people so vehemently defending the compound in question anyway?

    They aren’t. The only example of this that comes to mind is one news article titled “In Defense Of Thimerosal” or something like that. A better question is; Why the hell are people so vehemently defending the compound as a (sole/major) cause of autism?

  10. I’m trying to understand the point of your comments, and I’m not getting it. You’re appear to be trying to push me into defending someone else’s position. Let me break it down one more time:

    * There is a compound whose safety is in question. In fact, there is a question about whether it increases the incidence of autism.
    * Those debating both sides of the issue have not provided any definitive statement and proof. In fact, a significant portion of both sides of this argument defend their positions with insinuation and other rhetorical devices which don’t really qualify as “evidence.” However, if I’m to understand your last comment, the “pro-thimerosal” side exists primarily to claim the “anti-thimerosal” side is wrong? (And do so with great derision in many cases.)
    * Therefore, given a serious question and a serious outcome, I’m not going to let my children anywhere near the compound. And yes, you do have to ask your doctor. Last time, I did and am very glad of it.

    As to your question, we don’t have to have thimerosal in our vaccines, and, as you’ve pointed out, it’s on the way out. Why have a compound who’s safety is in question if there are safer alternatives that provide the exact same efficacy in the same cases?

    If one side’s wrong, we permit a dangerous compound in our vaccines or overlook an important man-made cause of a condition that most people consider to be a problem. If the other side’s wrong, the result is money and resources spent verifying that a hypothesis is wrong, which is most of what applied science is about, at least in drug development. And, with the current “evidence,” I’m going to take the safe assumption.

  11. Now I’m just a caveman, and your modern technology upsets and frightens me…..

    I’m not trying to push you, or anyone, into any position. If you don’t understand my words I will try to speak slowly. Pat asked you to weigh in on the thimerosal issue. Why, I’m not sure. I guess he figured anyone willing to criticize Orac must have an worthwhile opinion. So, for the uninitiated, you offered your hasty opinion. Somehow you managed to distill the debate down to one side defending a compound. If you’ve managed to miss that this is not even close to being the core issue, what hope should we have that you will understand all that follows. It seems that you are the uninitiated but don’t let that stop you from weighing in.

    Don’t worry about your short attention span though. I fully expected that your blog would host mug shots of people arrested for solicitation of prostitutes. What a disappointment.

  12. Why I’m responding to this inane comment, I don’t know. But here goes.

    bq. So now that you know the key points why don’t you go ahead and choose a side or make an argument for thimerosal as a cause or for any of the products from http://www.patsullivan.com as a cure.

    Sounds like you’re trying to push me into a position, and on things I explicitly noted I didn’t have enough information to comment on. Perhaps you have a much different definition of “uninitiated” and “hasty” than I do, but I suggest you watch what you assume about other people.

    I’ll let the rest of your comment speak for itself.

  13. John, I have many times tried to debate with the “pro-thimerosal” side. They claim there is no scientific evidence – that is incorrect. There are thousands of peer reviewed articles that establish with certainty the neurotoxicity of mercury. Unbelievably there is Orac, a doctor who is supporting these “pro-thimerosal” people – even promoting them. I am aghast at this Orac person (David Gorski). He is a medical doctor and is supposed to “do no harm”.
    In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics & the US Public Health Service issued a joint statement that said children had received too much mercury in their vaccines. Yet, no one in our governement bothered to see any children have been harmed by this.The EPA advisory level for ingested methylmercury is 0.1 micrograms mercury/per kilogram/day. If someone weighs 10 pounds (4.5 Kg)they should not be exposed to more than 0.45 micrograms of mercury in any one day. Children at 2 months of age, weighing approximately 10 pounds, were exposed to 62.5 micrograms of mercury throughout the 1990’s. This is 139 times higher than the EPA advisory.
    Ethylmercury readily passes the blood brain barrier and is rapidly converted to inorganic mercury. Recent data suggests ethylmercury deposits twice as much inorganic mercury in the brain of primates as compared to equal doses of methylmercury. In the 2002 Physicians Desk Reference, the Hepatitis B, DTaP and HIB vaccines still contained thimerosal at the full concentration. Children received 11 doses of these vaccines. In 2004, the flu vaccine was recommended for children at six months of age. Reports that thimerosal has been out of vaccines for years is false. It is still in flu vaccines recommended for pregnant women and children and adolescent/adult tetanus.

  14. Welcome to my world, John. You will never find another topic that will lead to lead to as many venomous comments as this one. Most people find it impossible to believe that anyone can refrain from having a firm opinion. I applaud your open-mindedness and your reluctance to speak out on something that is not a settled question.

    I wish I had that option. I wish I could wait for all the answers before forming my opinion. I can’t. My son is autistic, and if I want to help him regain the developmental ground he has already lost, I need to do my best to figure out what’s causing his dysfunctional characteristics.

    Based on everything I’ve seen, I believe thimerosal in vaccines played a significant role in triggering my son’s autism. It was probably not the sole factor, but it was a significant and proximate cause. Do I know this with certainty? Of course not. The science is till emerging.

    Anyone who claims that the possible causal link between vaccines (either thimerosal-containing or live-virus) has either been established or disproved is mistaken. Despite the impression my friend, Kev, tries to convey, the studies “refuting� the link consist solely of a handful of badly designed epidemiological studies, which I liken to forensic accounting. On the other hand, those of us who believe there is a link rely more on clinical and biological studies, only some of which have been replicated (and the replication relates mostly to the live-virus MMR studies Kev says were discredited). Those studies really only lay the groundwork for the real analysis that has yet to be accomplished.

    The studies we rely on do not prove anything with a reasonable degree of certainty, but when viewed together, they present a hypothesis that is consistent with the anecdotal observations made by countless parents like me. And one has to wonder why vaccine manufacturers would not conduct a little clinical or biological research themselves to definitively refute the link if they were really all that confident in the safety of their product.

    Speaking of product safety, clone3g is just plain wrong. Thimerosal has not been taken off the market. It is still used in the manufacturing process for many vaccines. Although the manufacturers claim to filter out the thimerosal, leaving only a “trace� amount, their success at doing so has been questioned, and the process also begs the question of whether even a “trace� amount is safe for a genetically susceptible child. Moreover, most flu shots (you know, the shots they strongly urge infants and pregnant women to get every year) still contain a full dose of thimerosal. Indeed, the FDA is reportedly fast tracking the approval process for Fluarix, a new flu vaccine that will contain a significant amount of mercury.

    No, I do not have the luxury of remaining neutral in this argument. I just hope we have definitive answers sooner rather than later.

  15. Damn, Wade, I am so sorry.

    Oh yeah, I can back up your assertion that Thimerosal is not gone.

    http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm

    Yeah, I’m looking into this topic a little bit more, because we parents have to get our children vaccinated. I’ve definitely been asking my doctor and seeking Hg-free alternatives whenever possible.

    Because I have to go through this again, I’m looking a little deeper, and it’s not really looking that good for thimerosal.

  16. Is it that I’m trying to avoid a situation where I unnecessarily inflict conditions on my children? If your point is that we should love and cherish our children with autism, then your point is well taken. If your point is that we should leave thimerosal on the market because you believe one set of studies or not another or autism isn’t such a bad thing or whatever, then leave your daughter out of this and let’s debate that.

    The very first part of my very first comment on this post was that I am not pro-thiomersal. I genuinely do not care wether or not it forms part of vaccines or not. What I _do_ care about is how the constant rhetoric coming from the anti-thiomersal camp is often venomously anti-autistic and is not centered on either epidimilogical or ‘hard’ science but rumour and innuendo.

    My point is that as soon as we can get past this totally unfounded funding-sucking, research-destroying obsession with vaccines (and its not just thiomersal, once it was Lead, then MMR, now its thiomersal and apparently the next thing will be Aluminium) the better. Then we can start to look at valid ways of treating the comorbidities that exist alongside autism and turn the current inward focused stance to outward looking education of society about the needs of autistics.

    _ Again, I don’t see the efforts to cure autism as incompatible with acceptance of it._

    Thats your view and your entitled to it but I strongly urge you to talk to some adult autistics before you start making decisions _for_ them.

    _John, I have many times tried to debate with the “pro-thimerosal� side. They claim there is no scientific evidence – that is incorrect. There are thousands of peer reviewed articles that establish with certainty the neurotoxicity of mercury._

    Maybe you couldn’t debate them because you don’t listen Ashleigh. I’ll say it once again – nobody claims Mercury isn’t neurotoxic. That does not equate to it causing autism. There are no studies at all that show a causative link between thomersal and autism. Your whole comment on this post speaks volumes about the incompetence of various US bodies. It says absolutely nothing about the cause of autism.

    I have a good deal of respect for Wade as he well knows but I don’t agree with his beliefs at all. I’m very curious to hear him talk about _any_ clinical studies that support the thiomersal/autism connection. I know of nothing reputable. I hope he’s not relying on the Hornig ‘autistic mice’ study (who diagnosed those mice I wonder) as a component of this. Or the non-existent autism epidemic.

    The science that refutes the MMR link is far from epidimilogical by the way. I quote first frome Brian Deer, a UK journalist:

    _”Even as Andrew Wakefield launched his attack on MMR in 1998, at a press conference and in a video, coinciding with a Lancet paper, he knew that his own laboratory had tested his theory: that the ultimate culprit for the children’s autism was measles virus in the vaccine. Royal Free researcher Nick Chadwick, carrying out sophisticated molecular analysis of samples from the children, using methods agreed by Wakefield, found no trace of measles virus.”_Brian Deer

    Next I quote from the BBC who made a documentary about a study into the MMR link with autism.

    _”Timothy Buie is a paediatric gastroenterologist in Boston. What makes him unique is that he works in a clinic that specialises in the care of children with autism and related disorders. Like Dr Wakefield, he has found that many of these children do have real bowel problems that are worthy of investigation.

    But despite having performed colonoscopies on hundreds of children, both with and without autism, Dr Buie has so far seen nothing that convinces him the autistic children have a new or distinctive form of bowel disease. His research is still ongoing, but it casts doubt on one aspect of the Wakefield hypothesis.

    But perhaps the most crucial question is whether the measles virus really is persisting in the bodies of autistic children; and now that question too has been investigated. A new, unpublished study has examined blood samples from a group of 100 autistic children and 200 children without autism. These samples have been examined using the most sensitive methods available. They found 99% of the samples contained no trace of the measles virus, and the samples that did contain the virus were just as likely to be from non-autistic children. The study therefore found no evidence of any link between MMR and autism._”BBC

    I’ll make you a promise right here and now. Ten years from now, my daughter, Wade’s son, Ashleigh Andersons child will still be autistic. I’ll further go on to wager that thiomersal will be proven safe. Sadly, I’ll further wager that parents will simply latch on to the next scary sounding ingredient.

  17. Kevin, you have no right to argue with people about their own children. You do not know of my child’s medical history and you should not proclaim yourself an expert on someone else’s child. Just because I want to help my child recover from a very disabling condition does not mean I do not cherish him. I am not anti-autistic. I love my child. You are very arrogant to say such things. Everything I talk about is based on fact – there are no rumors or innuendo. Why would you say such things? You are completely ignoring many scientific studies. Why should you care if autism/mercury research is fund-sucking? It is not your funds or government funds – it is private funds. Why is the “other side” so concerned about money? The concern should be for accurate scientific studies and most importantly the health of children. When I debate someone I do listen Kevin, but I find that those who I am debating do not. Many people on “your side” (I hate to say it that way) are pro-mercury or think mercury is safe. I have heard Autism Diva say she wants to wallow in mercury! It is just absurd.

  18. Some studies for Kevin:

    —————————————————
    Immunosuppressive and Autoimmune Effects of Thimerosal in Mice
    S Havarinasab etal, Toxicology and Applied pharmacology 2005
    —————————————————
    Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
    T Burbacher, etal (EHP/National Institute of Environmental Sciences 2005)
    —————————————————
    Late after-effects of the nervous system pathology provoked by the action of low-ethyl-mercuric-chloride concentrations
    Mukhtarova, (Gig Tr Prof Zabol 1977)
    —————————————————
    Thimerosal induces DNA breaks, Caspase-3 Activation, Membrane Damge, and Cell Death
    Baskin, etal (Toxicological Sciences 2003)
    —————————————————
    Thimerosal induces micronuclei in the cytochalasin B Block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes
    Westphal etal (Genotoxicity 2002)
    —————————————————
    Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent
    Mady Hornig etal (Molecular Psychiatry 2004)
    —————————————————
    Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is associated with Glutathione Depletion
    S.J. James etal (Neurotoxicology 2005)
    —————————————————
    Activation of methionine synthase – a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal
    R Deth etal (Molecular Psychiatry 2004)
    —————————————————
    Forstrom L, et al, Merthiolate Hypersensitivity and Vaccination. Contact Dermatitis 1980;6:241-245. (“…reactions can be expected in such a high percentage of Merthiolate (Thimerosal)-sensitive persons that Merthiolate in vaccines should be replaced by another antibacterial agent.”)
    —————————————————
    Kravchenko AT, et al, Evaluation of the Toxic Action of Prophylactic and Therapeutic Preparations on Cell Cultures Paper III: The Detection of Toxic Properties in Medical Biological Preparations by the Degree of Cell Damage in the L-132 Continuous
    Cell-Line. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1983;3:87-92. (“Thus Thimerosal, commonly used as a preservative, has been found not only to render its primary toxic effect, but also is capable of changing the properties of cells. This fact suggests that the use of Thimerosal for the preservation of medical biological preparations,
    especially those intended for children, is inadmissible.”)
    —————————————————
    Mercury poisoning in child treated with aqueous merthiolate. MD State Med J 1983;32:523. (“Administration of aqueous Merthiolate
    (Thimerosal) resulted in a child dying from mercury toxicity.”)
    —————————————————
    Winship KA. Organic Mercury Compounds and Their Toxicity. Adv Drug React Ac Pois Rev 1986;3:141-180. (“Thimerosal may present
    problems occasionally in practice. It is, therefore, now accepted that multi-dose injection preparations are undesirable and that
    preservatives should not be present in unit-dose preparations.”)
    —————————————————
    Cox NH, Forsyth A. Thiomersal Allergy and Vaccination Reactions. Contact Dermatitis 1988;18:229-233. (Severe reactions to Thimerosal
    demonstrate a need for vaccines with an alternative preservative.)
    —————————————————
    In 1974, an FDA panel found that Thimerosal was unsafe for human use. The panel cited a number of studies demonstrating the highly allergenic nature of Thimerosal and related organic mercury
    products. For instance, they cited a Swedish study that showed that 26 percent of medical students had hypersensitivity to Thimerosal. Interestingly, the study also found Thimerosal to be an ineffective
    disinfectant. “The Panel concludes that Thimerosal is not safe for over-the-counter topical use because of its potential for cell damage of applied to broken skin, and its allergy potential. It is
    not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriostatic action can be reversed.” Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness,
    Government Reform Committee. Mercury in Medicine Report. Washington, DC: Congressional Record, May 21, 2003:E1011-30.

  19. Kevin, please point out the decisions I’m trying to make for other people, especially by remaining neutral on the thimerosal/autism link (but not on the issue of whether thimerosal should remain in vaccines — and you stated you agree with me on this).

  20. […] The Geier brothers have released a paper discussing the link between vaccine preservative thimerosal (a compound containing methylmercury) and autism. I have been invited to comment on the matter, and have chosen to accept the invitation in a very narrow capacity. That very narrow capacity is specifically on the statistics of the paper and how it relates to the conclusions of the paper. I’m simply not interested in rehashing old arguments (also here and here). Those discussions take place regularly in other more appropriate forums. […]

  21. […] Repeat readers of this blog know that I am agnostic on the thimerosal-autism connection hypothesis. I even have my doubts about the safety of the MMR vaccine. The complexity of the mind is such that we simply don’t understand how these things work, and even running tests for mercury in the blood isn’t easy. And the vigor with which people on both sides of this controversy argue seems to leave little room for real understanding. I think that we should question the establishment about our vaccine strategy. I understand the need for “herd immunity,” but I wonder if we are asking too much of our little babies’ immune systems in the process. We should always try to find a better way, one with more efficacy, less risk, and/or lower cost. Two high-profile researchers that are questioning the establishment are now under question themselves, and, unfortunately, this time, I can’t say it’s a case of The Empire Strikes Back. I believe that those who use science to back up their positions should use the methods of science properly and ethically. And this is why Kathleen’s entry, assuming the details it contains are true, is very disturbing, especially considering the methods used to obtain the data for the manuscript. There is definitely smoke here. Is there a fire? […]

  22. […] List of studies given in a comment in the thimerosal thread […]

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