Archive for the 'Thimerosal' Category
Recent efforts by misinformed anti-vaccine groups have been lobbying the World Health Organization to try to remove thimerosal out of vaccines, under the incorrect belief that this is an agent causing autism in children. Though thimerosal is mercury-based, it contains ethyl mercury, which is given at much lower doses, far too low to cause genuine harm.
It has been confirmed – through a series of seven studies – that children that received vaccines containing thimerosal are not at a greater risk of autism or even for the subtlest signs of mercury poisoning. Certain hospitals in the 1990s removed the thimerosal from vaccines and a number of children died of Hepatitis B because of this.
I’ve been trying to get my friends to go out and get vaccinated for the flu this winter. One particular friend is very adamant about not getting a flu shot. She believes that the chances of the flu shot actually preventing her from getting the flu are very slim. She says that her cousin got the flu shot and he ended up getting the flu anyway. She told me that she would rather save her money for something that might actually work.
I asked my friend why she wouldn’t just get a flu shot. Anything was better than nothing. She didn’t budge from her stance. She didn’t want to put harmful things in her body that are found in the flu vaccine like thimerosal. I told her that the trace amounts of thimerosal found in vaccines aren’t enough to do any damage to anybody. She believes that if she were going to get sick from the flu, then it was meant to happen. I wish she wasn’t so stubborn all the time. It’s quick, easy, and helps prevent sickness. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Thimerosal, also known as thiomersal, was used as a preservative in vaccines, in order to keep vaccines from growing infectious bacteria or other potentially harmful organisms. In recent years, a controversy arose over thimerosal, as many parents feared that it might have been a cause of autism. Typically, people who believe this often believe that some sort of ‘mercury poisoning’ is to blame.
However, actual mercury toxicity symptoms are wildly different from autism symptoms and many of those who believe there is a connection tend to overlook pivotal facts. Scientists have reached a general consensus that thimerosal is not a cause of autism. However, thimerosal as a preservative has still been removed from routine childhood vaccines. To further prove that there is no correlation, autism rates have continued to rise even after thimerosal was removed from these vaccines.
It is a widely held misconception that thimerosal causes autism. Thimerosal was used as a vaccine preservative. The thinking was by a now discredited doctor that there was a causal relationship between the rise in vaccination and the rise in autism diagnoses.
The truth is thimerosal has not been used as a vaccine preservative for many years. While thimerosal has been removed the number of autism diagnoses has not dropped off. In fact, it can be argued that the number of cases has risen (although “risen” is not exactly the right word as it is entirely likely that the number of cases hasn’t gone up, but the ability to accurately diagnose someone on the spectrum has improved). With thimerosal denied as the culprit, parents and researchers need to continue to press for answers.
Most vaccinations no longer use the preservative thimerosal, with the exception of some flu vaccinations. This makes expectant parents, even those who plan on immunizing their children, wary of getting a flu shot. Research has indicated that it is still advisable for pregnant women to receive a flu shot.
First of all, when an adult gets a flu shot they help protect infants who are two young to receive a vaccination. Secondly, a vaccinated mother can pass along protective antibodies to her unborn child, which has the potential of protecting him or her after birth. Finally, if a woman does get the flu, then she is at higher risk of also contracting pneumonia which lowers blood oxygen levels, thus depriving a developing fetus of an essential component for healthy growth.
Though thimerosal usage in vaccines has largely been discontinued, there are some adult sprays and prescriptions that contain the bacteria killing preservative. Some adults are allergic to thimerosal. Some of the symptoms of a thimerosal allergy include swelling, redness, itching, burning, and discomfort at the site of the injection.
A test known as Thin-Layer Rapid Use Epicutaneous (TRUE) is used to see if an adult has a thimerosal allergy. Topical and oral antihistamines can relieve some of the symptoms. If an adult knows that they have a thimerosal allergy, then they can request alternative vaccines that use Cipro, Afrin or Fluzone.
In the Tampa Bay area, increasingly more parents are claiming religious exemptions to vaccinations required to start school. As a result, seven cases of measles have been reported this year, the most reported in 14 years. In each case, except for one, the child stricken had not been vaccinated.
Many parents who choose the exemption are believed to do so over fears that thimerosal can lead to Autism. What parents fail to realize is that thimerosal has never been used as a preservative in measles vaccine (which also vaccinates against rubella and mumps). Ironically, past vaccinations have worked almost too well, in that many doctors have difficulty diagnosing measles because so few have seen the disease in person. Still, the threat is real and rising; one in 1,000 children who get the measles will develop a brain infection that can be permanent, if the child survives, as one or two in every 1,000 will die. This simply reinforces the case for parents to research vaccinations and determine which ones they are comfortable being administered to their children.
A mercury-containing organic compound, Thimerosal has been used in many vaccines since the 1930s as an agent of preservation. It has also been used in many biological and drug products. The use of this substance is intended to prevent life-threatening contamination, specifically the growth and development of harmful microbes, bacteria and fungi within the vaccine itself.
However, over the past several years there has been an increase in awareness about the theoretical potential for neurotoxicity of even the lowest levels. Debate has occurred over the increase in the number of infant vaccines that contain Thimerosal has also risen with concerned parents that question the effects of this preservation substance in their young children. Nowadays, Thimerosal had been completely removed from vaccinations for children 6 years of age and younger; only trace amounts of this substance could be found in any such vaccine.
The substance thimerosal has been phased out of vaccines given in the U.S. and the European Union as a purely precautionary measure. Many parents have taken this removal to mean that thimerosal is the cause of autism. There is no scientific evidence to back up such claims. The ever increasing rise in reported autism births even after thimerosal has been taken out of the equation is proof positive that there must be some other cause of autism.
Despite the lack of evidence that thimerosal is the culprit, and despite the fact that vaccines no longer use the substance, parents are refusing to vaccinate their children. Now, it is absolutely a parents’ right to make medical decisions concerning their children, but they should be informed decisions. There have been troubling reports of parents turning to unproven, possibly dangerous treatments for autism. Any treatment, from vaccinations to therapies to natural solutions should be thoroughly research. Your child is a person, not a test subject.
Generally, we look to medical associations and scientists when it comes to gauging the effectiveness of medicines and creating links in the health field, but the federal appeals court has recently weighed in on the vaccination debate. A special vaccine court ruled last year that there is little, if any, evidence to support the claim that vaccines—the MMR vaccine in particular—causes autism. When Dr. Wakefield reported the supposed link years ago, more than 5,500 families sought compensation under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. But as we’ve reported before, Dr. Wakefield’s findings have been discredited by virtually everyone in the medical community.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, saying that there was only weak and contradictory evidence to support the claim. The vaccine court also found that thimerosal, an additive in vaccines, was not responsible for causing autism, which many had claimed.