What do you know about Thimerosal? Many who have not closely followed ongoing discussions about vaccine safety may be unfamiliar with the name Thimerosal, but getting to know more about this vaccine ingredient is important.
Just what is Thimerosal? Thimerosal’s primary use is as a preservative. This organomercury compound helps extend the shelf life of vaccines, nasal and ophthalmic products, tattoo inks, and a variety of other substances. While Thimerosal was widely used in this capacity for years, in 1999, the US Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended the removal of Thimerosal from all vaccines as soon as possible. However, Thimerosal is still present in many formulations of influenza vaccines that reach millions of pregnant women and infant in the United States each year.
Why was Thimerosal banned from the majority of childhood vaccines?
Remember that Thimerosal is an organomercury compound, which means it contains the element mercury. We don’t often hear about or interact with mercury in our daily lives, and for good reason: it’s highly toxic to the human body. Its toxicity alone gave some a reason to question its inclusion in vaccines, and Dr. Mark Geier was one such skeptic. Interestingly, at the time of Thimerosal’s widespread inclusion in vaccines, mercury’s toxicity was not of concern to governments and health organizations like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the fact that hundreds of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies over 70 years demonstrated significant adverse effects, including death, as well as its ineffectiveness as a preservative in vaccines.
Geier recognized that the inclusion of Thimerosal in vaccines recommended for pregnant women and children was not safe or ethical.
Having already conducted research on the adverse effects of vaccines in the early 1990s, Geier began conducting extensive research on the toxicity of Thimerosal and its potential risk factors.
Geier’s research yielded startling results, as it was shown that Thimerosal exposure resulted in an increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Using sound statistical analysis and information from national databases, the association between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders was identified in multiple studies and experiments, and was supported in research by other well-respected scientists.
Though these findings generated growing concerns about vaccine safety, and can be said to have further pressured organizations such as the CDC and WHO to remove Thimerosal from numerous vaccines, the CDC or WHO did not acknowledge the validity of this research. In fact, it countered with a few select studies of strongly questionable standards that countered what hundreds of scientific papers had found.
Geier continues to research the relationship between Thimerosal and neurodevelopment disorders today, as Thimerosal remains present in influenza vaccines administered to millions of pregnant women and children, and because the cause of neurodevelopmental disorders has yet to be officially recognized.