Pediatrics Academy Still Fighting Mercury Bans on Vaccines
July 01, 2006
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Public Health Service recommended, in 1999, that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, be removed from U.S. children's vaccines.
However, state chapters of AAP have been actively trying to stop state legislation intended to implement the thimerosal ban, even though almost all vaccines can be made in a thimerosal-free or reduced-thimerosal variety.
Currently, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, and Washington ban thimerosal in vaccines. In Illinois, however, the state AAP made an exemption for flu vaccinations, claiming concern that there could be a potential shortage of a thimersal-free formulation.
The Illinois Department of Public Health did not notify doctors about this change in vaccine law, and documents showed that the agency mandated vaccines that contained mercury to be used for 18 months after the law's deadline.
The papers, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also showed the agency had "documented" a shortage of a vaccine when a surplus actually existed.
In the UK and Scandinavia, all vaccines intended for children are thimerosal-free.