Florida legislature refuses to regulate mercury in vaccines

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 by: Neev M. Arnell
Tags: mercury, vaccines, health news

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(NaturalNews) An amendment to regulate the use of mercury in vaccines was voted down in Tallahassee, Florida, May 6. The amendment would have made it illegal to buy, sell, manufacture, deliver, import, administer or distribute any vaccine that contained more than 0.3 micrograms of organic or inorganic mercury per milliliter for children younger than age 7 or pregnant women. The amendment was intended to address the concern that mercury, in the form of Thimerosal, is still used in vaccines while mercury is recognized to cause cancer, genetic mutations, miscarriages and birth defects.

The U.S. Public Health Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics called for the removal of Thimerosal from U.S. vaccines licensed since 2001 in 1999 but people are still being exposed to mercury through flu shots, where most doses still are still preserved with Thimerosal. These vaccines are routinely recommended for children and pregnant women. (

Mercury is used as a preservative in multi-dose vials of vaccines. Preservatives are used in multi-dose vials because a syringe needle inserted multiple times can introduce bacteria and fungi each time. Mercury can be avoided by using single-dose vials, which do not require a preservative, since they are used only once. There is also a less toxic alternative to mercury that can be used for multi-dose vials called 2-phenoxyethanol.

Mercury in vaccines?

During the May 6 vote on mercury in vaccines, Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) erroneously claimed mercury had been removed from all vaccines (

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website, "Since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by FDA for use in children has contained Thimerosal as a preservative." But the website later states that some vaccines routinely recommended by the CDC for children younger than 6 years of age can contain trace amounts of Thimerosal and that all multi-dose influenza vaccines do contain the chemical. The government agency does not provide details on what constitutes "trace amounts" but it is clear that mercury has not been removed from all vaccines.

The CDC also claims that Thimerosal is safe and not linked to autism. Its website claims that data from several studies show low doses of Thimerosal in vaccines do not cause harm, and are only associated with minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. It also claims numerous studies have found no association between Thimerosal exposure and autism.

Scientific studies label mercury unsafe and link it to autism

In March 2009, the Governor's Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders in the State of Florida issued a report recommending that Florida "explore the prohibition of the purchase and administration of all mercury-containing (e.g., Thimerosal) vaccines." The report also acknowledged, "new, peer-reviewed scientific literature that suggests a causal relationship between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism."

Three recent studies, in particular, show the symptoms of mercury poisoning are nearly identical to those of autism, which strongly suggests that mercury in vaccines is at least a major factor in autism (

Mercury is already a known neurotoxin that causes cancer, damages DNA, alters proper embryonic development, and disrupts the immune system, but researchers at the University of Brazil recently released a study showing that mercury also causes serious brain damage, and is linked to autism and other developmental diseases in children and Alzheimer's disease in adults (

Dr. Jose Dorea and his colleagues at the University of Brazil conducted an extensive, peer-reviewed analysis of various studies and available information in major databases that address the effects of low-dose Thimerosal on neural tissue and behavior. They found conclusively that Thimerosal accumulates in brain tissue, negatively affects brain development, and harms brain cells.

Florida legislators choose lobbyist over health

A prominent Tallahassee lobbyist reported that he had never, in his 20-year career, seen such as swarm of pharmaceutical industry lobbyists descend on Tallahassee in opposition to a bill. (

Ignoring the PHS and AAP report and the science, and siding with the lobbyists, Florida Senator Nan Rich (D-Sunrise), who opposed the amendment, stated, "All the credible evidence out there shows that Thimerosal has nothing to do with autism." He did not address the risks aside from autism that are associated with the chemical. (

Florida legislators criticized

"Putting poison in a baby shot is ludicrous," said Rev. Lisa K. Sykes, President of nonprofit group The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs. "Especially when we know mercury is an unwarranted vaccine ingredient." (

"The Florida Senators who voted this amendment down are clearly more interested in the well-being of the lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry than in the wellbeing of Florida's children," she said.

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