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Allowable mercury limits

Allowable mercury limits

Opening Statement Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman Government Reform Committee - “Mercury in Medicine – Are We Taking Unnecessary Risks?”

Congress directed the Environmental Protection Agency to contract with the National Research Council to prepare recommendations on the appropriate dose for mercury exposure.  That report was released on July 11[4].  While the FDA relies on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s dosing level for mercury of 0.5 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day is significantly higher than the EPA’s dose of 0.1 microgram per kilogram of body weight.  In that report, it was confirmed that the EPA’s reference dose is correct.  We will hear from Dr. Vascken Aposhian, University of Arizona at Tuscon, one of the scientists who worked on this report. Ramona Trovato will testify on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Section 413 of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997[5] required the FDA to compile a list of drugs and foods that contain intentionally introduced mercury compounds, and provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the mercury compounds in this list.  The Act also requires the agency to compile the list and provide the analysis within two years after the date of its enactment on November 21, 1997.  Dr. William Egan will be testifying on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration.

While thimerosal has previously been ruled by the FDA to fit the  “generally recognized as safe” standard, when the FDA conducted their Over the Counter (OTC) drug review they changed their minds.  The FDA determined that mercury compounds used as active ingredients in Over the Counter drug products were not found to be “generally recognized as safe.”  Additionally the FDA has not approved any mercury containing compounds as food additives and does not consider any mercury containing compounds to be “generally recognized as safe.” [6]  On their own website, the FDA states, “lead, cadmium, and mercury are examples of elements that are toxic when present at relatively low levels.”[7] 

How is it that mercury is not safe for food additives and Over the Counter drug products, but it is safe in our vaccines and dental amalgams?

Autism and Mercury Coincidence or Cause and Effect?

In June 1999, the Food and Drug Administration discovered that “Infants who receive thimerosal containing vaccine at several visits may be exposed to more mercury than recommended by Federal guidelines for total mercury exposure.” Thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines to prevent contamination, is 49.6% mercury by weight. Infants who are being vaccinated using multi-dose vials with thimerosal can receive 62.5 micrograms of mercury per visit. For an average sized child this represents an exposure approximately 100 times the 0.1 micrograms per kilogram of daily exposure considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. The manufactures safety data sheet for thimerosal states, “Highly toxic…Danger of cumulative effects…Avoid prolonged or repeated exposure… and the Chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated.”

Thimerosal in Vaccines—An Interim Report to Clinicians (RE9935) AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

As part of an ongoing review of biologic products in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act of 1997, the FDA has determined that infants who receive thimerosal-containing vaccines at several visits may be exposed to more mercury than recommended by federal guidelines for total mercury exposure.

Autism ‘linked to mercury vaccine’

In America, researchers found some infants who are being vaccinated using multidose vials with thiomersal can receive 62.5 micrograms of mercury per visit. This is 100 times more than the intake considered safe for the average six-month-old by the US Environmental Protection Agency.  In June 1999 the FDA discovered that: “Infants who receive thiomersal-containing vaccine at several visits may have been exposed to more mercury than recommended by Federal guidelines.” The following month the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) issued a statement saying: “Cumulative exposure to ethylmercury [found in thiomersal] . . . could lead to a potential cause for concern.”