(Thiomersal - Thimersol)
Information about THIMEROSAL, autism, autistic, vaccine, Contains Mercury

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Thimerosal, also and formerly known as Thiomersal, is a compound that most often contains approximately 49% mercury (by weight) and is used as an antiseptic and antifungal agent, commonly in for human vaccines, pet vaccines and in other animal vaccines.

Thimerosal was originally developed and marketed under the trade name Merthiolate before 1930 by Eli Lilly and Company. It has been and is still used today as a preservative in human vaccines, pet vaccines and in other animal vaccines, immune globulin preparations, certain skin test antigens, antivenins, ophthalmic and some nasal products, as well as tattoo inks.

Thimerosal, a mercury-containing organic compound, is also known scientifically as an organomercurial. For over 70 years, Thimerosal has been widely used as a preservative in a many biological and drug products, including human vaccines, pet vaccines and other animal vaccines, to reduce the threat of contamination from harmful microbes (spoilage.) Recently, because of an increasing research on the potential for neurotoxicity of even low levels of these organomercurials (mercury or compounds of mercury) and also because Thimerosal containing vaccines have been becoming increasingly popular, and much more commonly used in the ever-increasing public and private infant immunization programs, primarily in the United States, there have been increasing concerns about this accelerating use of Thimerosal in vaccines and in other products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to work with vaccine manufacturers with a goal of reducing or eliminating Thimerosal from vaccines. The United States Congress and the media have become involved.

Thimerosal, containing Mercury or mercury compounds, is added to human vaccines, pet vaccines and to animal vaccines as a preservative. Preservatives in vaccines are compounds that kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms, particularly bacteria and fungi. In other words, Thimerosal and other mercury containing preservatives increase shelf life and lower costs by preventing 'spoilage.' They are used in vaccines to prevent microbial growth in the event that the vaccine is accidentally contaminated, as could occur with repeated puncture of multi-dose vials, commonly in use. In some cases, preservatives are added during manufacture to prevent spoilage for one reason or another. Autistic and Autism relation is studied.


Thimerosal was supposed to have been removed from or drastically reduced as a component in all vaccines that are commonly in use for children six (6) years of age and younger, with the exception of 'inactivated influenza' vaccines. A preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine, which still contains trace amounts of Thimerosal, is still marketed for use in infants, children and pregnant women. Some vaccines for children seven (7) years of age and older and vaccines containing the Mercury compounds as Thimerosal are in common availability also for adults. Most vaccines marketed in formulations that are free of Thimerosal or contain only trace amounts. These vaccines with 'trace' amounts of Thimerosal are specified to contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose common disorders of the Blood.

There are vaccines that do not contain thimerosal. These vaccines include vaccines in single-dose form or vaccines for which thimersal would interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine, such as live vaccines including, oral and inactivated polio, yellow fever, and other vaccines. These vaccines, however, when packaged in multi-dose form, must be discarded at the end of the a given immunization session. Some other vaccines may contain trace amounts of thimerosal, if this particular preservative has been used during the production process, but has not been added to the final product. A third group of vaccines have thimerosal added as a preservative to prevent contamination when packaged in multi-dose vials. These include vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, etc. (DTP), diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DT), tetanus toxoid (TT), hepatitis B, Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), influenza and others.

Each change in the formulation of any licensed vaccine, including changes in the amount of thimerosal, may well yield an impact on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and a new round of testing trials might likely be required before this reformulated product could  be licensed and distributed. Replacing thimerosal with a different protecting agent or preservative during the production process or in the final product, would require a new licensing process with a series of preclinical and clinical trials. For vaccines used in multi-dose formulations thimerosal has offered better protection from contamination than other some other preservatives, considering cost, etc.

As an alternative, vaccines could be supplied in single-dose vials, but this would require a significant increase in production capacity. This costs much more. Single-dose vials require a much larger refrigerated storage space as well as greatly increased shelf space and transportation. Generally, considering cost, for many vaccines, it is more cost effective to use the multi-dose vials. Keep in mind, if thimerosal were used as the preserving agent in the production process, even though not added as a preservative, the result would still be traces of thimerosal in the final vaccine product, both in single and multi-dose packaging.


At this writing, as a precaution, some health authorities are beginning to replace thimerosal (thiomersal) containing vaccines. Common public reports say that there is 'currently no evidence' of harm from mercury contained in vaccines. The problem is that there are only a few tested, effective and safe alternatives to thimerosal-containing vaccines. Current production capacity for such vaccines appears to be limited and insufficient to cover needs.

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   Last updated 08/08/2008