SafeMinds Applauds Proposed Global Treaty Ban on Mercury in Vaccines

No amount of mercury is insignificant when directly injected into the body of an infant, young child or pregnant woman.

ATLANTA, Oct. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — SafeMinds applauds UNEP’s draft treaty language which does not exempt the use of mercury in pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, from the global ban.  Governmental regulators, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies have recognized that the toxicity of mercury in pharmaceutical and personal care products, to which people are directly exposed, justifies a preventive approach to minimize all exposures.

“We need the vaccine industry to move into the 21st century,” said Eric Uram, Executive Director of the Coalition for SafeMinds, an observer to the negotiations.  “The treaty looks to phase-out unnecessary mercury use in products by requiring alternatives.  We need to make sure all products used are the safest and least toxic possible.  The treaty does this by signaling the end of using thimerosal in vaccines.”

In most industrialized countries it has been relatively easy to replace, reduce, or eliminate thimerosal as a preservative in single and multi-dose vaccines.  Alternatives are available to address issues related to vaccine shelf-life and sterility in developing countries that can even eliminate the use of preservatives, but pressure to change has never really been applied.

“The evidence continues to mount that mercury in vaccines is not safe, that negative effects happen even with vaccine levels of exposure,” said Dr. Jose Dorea, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Universidad de Brasilia.  “We must end the use of thimerosal as soon as possible. No pregnant mother or child should have to trade getting mercury injected into them for the prevention of an infectious disease.”

None of the “live” vaccines including oral polio, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), yellow fever or tuberculosis (BCG) have ever contained thimerosal and current immunization programs for those vaccines will not be impacted. However, thimerosal is still used in many diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT), tetanus toxoid (TT), hepatitis B, and influenza vaccines, especially in developing countries.

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