What Can I Do If I Feel My Child Was Harmed As the Result of a Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine?
We have provided a direct contact form so that we can answer any questions you might have and to be able to properly assess if you have a case. In the past, a number of lawsuits were announced the day following the National Academy of Sciences report saying researchers were unable to determine if there is a link between thimerosal and disorders in children. Lawsuits were filed due to the drug company's failure to disclose to doctors how much mercury was contained in the vaccines until Congress ordered the FDA to find out in 1997. Defendants included drug companies Aventis Pasteur Inc., Pasteur Merieux Connaught, Pfizer Inc., a subsidiary of Warner-Lambert, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Lederle Laboratories, Baxter International Inc., Eli Lilly & Co., Integra Chemical Co., Sigma Chemical Co., and Aldrich Chemical Co. Get the latest news on the thimerosal controversy here.
How can Mercury Affect Children?
Since very young children are more sensitive to mercury than adults, children can become poisoned by mercury and develop nervous and digestive system problems and kidney damage. Pregnant woman who ingest mercury at high levels can pass harmful effects to the developing fetus including brain damage, mental retardation, lack of coordination, blindness, seizures, and an inability to speak.
What Does The FDA Say About Thimerosal in Vaccines?
In 1997, the FDA Modernization Act called for the FDA to review and assess the risk of all mercury containing foods and drugs. The FDA conducted a review of mercury content in vaccines as part of this effort. Today all routinely recommended licensed pediatric vaccines that are currently being manufactured for the U.S. market contain no thimerosal or only trace amounts.
An FDA review concluded that the use of thimerosal as a preservative in vaccines might result in the intake of mercury during the first 6 months of life that exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but not the FDA, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), or the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for methylmercury intake. Thimerosal contains ethylmercury, but methylmercury is a related compound and has been more thoroughly researched than ethylmercury. The FDA concluded that they were one in the same and the toxicity of ethyl compound is equivalent to the methyl compound. In July of 1999 the Public Health Service agencies (PHS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal levels in vaccines should be reduced or eliminated as a precautionary measure, and the FDA committed to expediting the review of new vaccines that do not contain thimerosal.
What Has Been Done Since July of 1999 to Remove Thimerosal From Vaccines For Infants?
Currently all routinely recommended licensed pediatric vaccines that are being manufactured for the U.S. market contain no thimerosal or contain only trace amounts of thimerosal. There are now two hepatitis B vaccines that are thimerosal free, four Hib vaccines are thimerosal free, and two DtaP vaccines are thimerosal free. Previously the maximum cumulative exposure to mercury by routine childhood vaccinations during the first six months of life was 187.5 micrograms. The newly formulated vaccines allow a maximum cumulative exposure during the first six months of life of less than three micrograms of mercury, a 98% reduction. But while new vaccines are being implemented, the thimerosal-containing leftover vaccines are still being administered. In October of 2001 Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) had renewed his request to recall all childhood immunizations containing thimerosal saying, "We cannot in good conscience leave thimerosal-containing vaccines on the shelf until used up, potentially exposing children to chemicals that may lead to neuro-developmental disorders. Mercury is toxic to the human body. I will be sending a letter this week to Secretary Thompson asking that these products be recalled. In the meantime, I am asking every doctor, every health clinic, and every facility that provides childhood immunizations to check your vaccine supplies and return all thimerosal-containing vaccines and request thimerosal-free vaccines."