As the United Nations, the European Commission and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluate the health and environmental risks associated with mercury, a known neurotoxin, carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, and immune-system disruptor, new research continues to fuel concerns about Thimerosal (THIM), a mercury-based compound used as a preservative in inactivated flu vaccines.Publicizing the recent international studies that caution against the use of mercury in medicine has been left to doctors and citizens belonging to independent groups such as the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD), a Maryland-based, non-profit organization. This is because much of the American public is unaware that Thimerosal continues to be present in most U.S. flu shots, in spite of a 1999 call by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service to remove it from vaccines "as soon as possible." Dr. Paul G. King, PhD, Science Advisor to CoMeD, cites the urgent need to stop this use of mercury in flu shots: "We have scientific studies clearly demonstrating that mercury causes neurological damage, and we have a cost-effective alternate that has already been used to replace Thimerosal as the preservative in vaccines." One recent example of these studies was published in Folia Neuropathologica in December 2010. That study's scientific data led the authors to conclude, "On the whole, the results of this study argue for urgent removal of THIM from all vaccines for children and pregnant women, as well as from other medicinal products and cosmetics." The second new study, published this year in the journal of Middle East Current Psychiatry, also supports claims that mercury could be the culprit behind autism. Noting that mercury-based compounds are used as preservatives in several vaccines, the investigators stressed, "Mercury poisoning and autism have nearly identical symptoms." In a third study, published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology in early February 2011, the causal connection between Thimerosal and autism is explained: "Thimerosal has been implicated as a cause of autism. Not only is every major symptom of autism documented in cases of mercury poisoning but also biological abnormalities in autism are very similar to side effects of mercury poisoning itself." The 1999 statement made by the PHS and AAP about the urgency of removing Thimerosal from vaccines is still posted on the website of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over a decade later. Yet, Thimerosal is now added to most of the flu shots given to pregnant women, children, and the elderly. Rev. Lisa Sykes, President of CoMeD, ordained United Methodist Minister, parent of an autistic child, and an outspoken critic of the use of Thimerosal, warns, "Research continues to prove that mercury is hazardous to human health, and Thimerosal is still in flu shots. What are we waiting for when so many people are at risk?" Contributed by the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs.
********** Published: March 10, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 47