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Thursday, April 21, 2005


SafeMinds Recommends Additional Research Funding into the Neurological Impact of the Mercury-Based Preservative Thimerosal

Washington, DC—A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and conducted by University of Washington researcher Thomas M. Burbacher, PhD concludes that the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal is more hazardous than medical professionals previously believed. SafeMinds, Sensible Action For Ending Mercury Induced Neurological Disorders, urges further research into the health risks created by the presence of thimerosal in vaccines administered to children and pregnant women.

Some health officials have suggested that the mercury in thimerosal is less toxic than other forms of mercury such as methylmercury, the highly toxic environmental form of mercury. This groundbreaking study, however titled “Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal,” is the first of its kind to show that thimerosal’s mercury may actually be more harmful than methylmercury. The reason is the type of mercury in thimerosal – ethylmercury – quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier where it converts to a form that is unable to leave the brain. Dr. Burbacher’s study shows that twice as much mercury remains trapped in the brain from doses of ethylmercury in thimerosal compared to equal doses of methylmercury.

“These new findings undermine the position of vaccine makers, who have long denied harm from exposing a generation of children to excessive levels of mercury as a needless additive in vaccines,” said Sallie Bernard, co-founder of Safe Minds. “This study is yet another step in the complete reversal of scientific assumptions about the effects of thimerosal.”

The Institute of Medicine issued a report in 2004 that stated that there was no causal link between thimerosal and neurological disorders like autism. Inorganic mercury, which is what thimerosal leaves behind in the brain, contributes to microgliosis, a recently reported finding in the brains of those with autism. In light of these new findings Safe Minds recommends a complete reevaluation of this issue by the Institute of Medicine.

“This study contradicts the assumption that mercury from thimerosal (ethylmercury) is safer than environmental mercury (methylmercury) from eating fish and emissions from coal-fired power plants,” said Mark Blaxill, a board member of Safe Minds and an expert cited in the Burbacher study. “This study should compel government agencies to retract their flawed and premature conclusions regarding thimerosal and stick to the facts.”

Contact: Phil Elwood

Posted by Becca

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