What is mercury?
Mercury is a developmental toxin that occurs naturally in the environment, but the majority of environmental mercury results from human activities. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Many of these can exist as either vapor or solids/liquids.
What are the effects of mercury exposure?
Mercury in all forms is a known neurotoxin. Mercury exposure while in utero or during early childhood can impair brain development. Mercury has been linked to mental retardation, Attention Deficit Disorder, autism as well as other impairments affecting behavior, mental and emotional health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1 in 6 women of child-bearing age already has a level of mercury in her body that could be harmful to her children.
What is thimerosal?
Thimerosal is a man-made preservative that contains ethyl-mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin used in some consumer products, such as nasal sprays and eye drops, as well as in vaccines. Developed in the 1930’s and marketed by Eli Lilly, thimerosal has never been tested using modern safety standards.
What amount of mercury in vaccines is safe?
The National Academies of Science set a standard for thimerosal based on EPA guidelines for fish consumption at 0.1 micrograms of methylmercury per kilogram of body weight per day. However, some vaccines, like the flu shot, contain as much as 25 micrograms of mercury, over 50 times the limit for a daily dose of methylmercury for an infant weighing about 11 pounds. No amount of mercury has been established as safe and there is no biological need for mercury.
Are mercury-free vaccines available?
In our country, yes! Most vaccines in the U.S. today are mercury free except the flu shot, some tetanus boosters and vaccines required for travel to other countries. However, mercury free flu shots are widely available. Click here for more information. But while consumers in the U.S. have access to vaccines free from mercury, most, if not all vaccines for infants and children in developing countries still contain the neurotoxic metal.
Resources & Downloads
This FAQ one-sheet provides important information on environmental mercury and its effects. Please feel free to download the file here and distribute.
This FAQ one-sheet provides information on thimerosal and research supporting its harmful effects. Please feel free to download the file here and distribute.
Halting the Child Brain Drain: Why we need to tackle global mercury contaminationHealth Care Without Harm