SafeMinds deplores AAP support of the unlimited use of thimerosal in vaccines.
WASHINGTON, DC – In a stunning statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has supported the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, be retained for use in the global vaccine supply. Rather than supporting a ban or phase out, the AAP and WHO are arguing for unrestricted use of mercury in vaccines. SafeMinds believes that children in developing countries deserve the same access to mercury-free vaccines that children have in developed nations.
According to the AAP, its mission is “to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.” The AAP further states that it “can move the national focus from documenting child health disparities to advancing the principles and practice of child health equity and, in so doing, influence the worldwide practice of pediatrics and child health.”
“Apparently, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ mission does not extend to children in other countries,” said Eric Uram, SafeMinds’ Executive Director. “Here in the USA, the AAP endorsed mercury-free childhood vaccines in 1999. Despite this, they have kowtowed to pressure and released this hardline statement. It is unconscionable for an organization of pediatricians to fail to support an expedited phase out, if not an immediate ban of the intentional injection of mercury into children.”
SafeMinds is encouraging the nations participating under the United Nations Environmental Program to include language in the International Mercury Treaty to expedite the removal of mercury from vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other personal care products. Treaty negotiators have three options for treaty language – to ban a mercury product outright, to phase it out rationally and use alternatives, or to allow its use without limitation. SafeMinds supports a ban or phase out of thimerosal. The AAP and WHO wish to allow unlimited mercury use in vaccines.
Many children in developing countries are still exposed to the full amount of mercury in their vaccines that raised concerns in the United States in the late 1990s. Most children in the US had been receiving over 100 times the daily exposure limit for methylmercury set by the Environmental Protection Agency (0.1 mcg/kg bodyweight/day) through thimerosal in their routine vaccinations. Thimerosal, like methylmercury, is an organic form of mercury and highly toxic. For example, an average 5 kg infant at 2 months of age would have received a total of 62.5 mcg of mercury from their Hepatitis B, Hib, and DTaP vaccines combined. The allowable limit for a child that weight was 0.5mcg/day so they were 125 times over the limit. It took approximately 3 years for most of the vaccines in the US to be changed to mercury-free formulations. The AAP and WHO position requests treaty language that would allow unrestricted use of thimerosal-containing vaccines in countries around the world.
“When you come down to it,” stated Uram, “this is really about money and maintaining an inflexible bureaucracy. All the WHO arguments about multi-dose packaging and cold chain storage are driven by status quo thinking and minimizing cost, not promoting children’s well-being. Clearly thimerosal-free vaccines are readily available in wealthier countries and could be made available globally. Children in poor countries should not have to be injected with a known neurotoxin in order to be vaccinated against infectious diseases.”
The AAP states that there is “no evidence that the amount of ethylmercury found in thimerosal-containing vaccines is harmful to human health.” This ignores results in their own publication Pediatrics, showing that thimerosal in vaccines was associated with speech delays and tics (Verstraaten 2003). These findings were later replicated in studies in the New England Journal of Medicine (Thompson et. al 2007) and, again, in Pediatrics (Andrews et al. 2004). In addition, a wide array of animal and cellular studies show that thimerosal is toxic to human cells and disrupts cellular metabolism(Herdman 2006, Humphrey 2009, Makani 2002) , is harmful to the immune system (Havarinasab2005) and DNA (Baskin 2003), and functions as an endocrine disruptor (Sulkowski et al. 2012). Last week, a rat study found that embryonic exposure to thimerosal produced lasting impairment of brain neurotransmitters (Ida-Eto et al. 2012). For more studies supporting removal of mercury from vaccines, click here.
SafeMinds challenges the position of the AAP and calls for the immediate removal or rapid phase out of mercury in vaccines and personal care products. “It is hard enough to reduce mercury in the environment to protect human health,” said Sallie Bernard, SafeMinds’ President. “The last thing we should be doing is injecting it into our children.”
SafeMinds is a non-profit 501c-3 organization whose mission is to restore health and protect future generations by eradicating the devastation of autism and associated health disorders induced by mercury and other toxicants resulting from human activities. www.safeminds.org
Image from: freedigitalphotos.net
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.