Why thimerosal was removed from vaccines in the early 2000s
No, you need to buff up on your history. Thimerosal was investigated because the government and EPA identified the danger of mercury exposure to the population at large and ordered an analysis into every exposure. The FDA then realized that exposures were occurring through Thimerosal and since mercury is a potent neurotoxin (that’s why the analysis was ordered in the first place) and that exposures were causing problems in the population, that it was prudent to eliminate that route of exposure. You seem to be falling for some manufactured history here.
Thimerosal Saga Timeline
The recognition that some children could be exposed to a cumulative level of mercury over the first 6 months of life that exceeds one of the federal guidelines on methyl mercury now requires a weighing of two different types of risks when vaccinating infants. On the one hand, there is the known serious risk of diseases and deaths caused by failure to immunize our infants against vaccine-preventable infectious diseases; on the other, there is the unknown and probably much smaller risk, if any, of neurodevelopmental effects posed by exposure to thimerosal. The large risks of not vaccinating children far outweigh the unknown and probably much smaller risk, if any, of cumulative exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines over the first 6 months of life.
Nevertheless, because any potential risk is of concern, the Public Health Service (PHS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and vaccine manufacturers agree that thimerosal-containing vaccines should be removed as soon as possible. Similar conclusions were reached this year in a meeting attended by European regulatory agencies, European vaccine manufacturers, and FDA, which examined the use of thimerosal-containing vaccines produced or sold in European countries.
The risk, if any, to infants from exposure to thimerosal is believed to be slight. The demonstrated risks for not vaccinating children far outweigh the theoretical risk for exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines during the first 6 months of life.
Given the availability of vaccines that do not contain thimerosal as a preservative, the progress in developing such additional vaccines, and the absence of any recognized harm from exposure to thimerosal in vaccines, hepatitis B, DTaP, and Hib vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative can continue to be used in the routine infant schedule beginning at age 2 months along with monovalent or combination vaccines that do not contain thimerosal as a preservative.
The FDA reviews the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines and finds no evidence of harm, but as a precautionary measure, recommends removing thimerosal from vaccines routinely given to infants.
Conclusion. Our review revealed no evidence of harm caused by doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for local hypersensitivity reactions. However, some infants may be exposed to cumulative levels of mercury during the first 6 months of life that exceed EPA recommendations. Exposure of infants to mercury in vaccines can be reduced or eliminated by using products formulated without thimerosal as a preservative.
CONCLUSIONS: The body of existing data, including the ecologic data presented herein, is not consistent with the hypothesis that increased exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines is responsible for the apparent increase in the rates of autism in young children being observed worldwide.11/2003 - Another study, published in Pediatrics, finds no consistent significant associations between exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and a variety of kidney, nervous system, and developmental problems. The authors concluded as follow (emphasis added, TCV means Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines):
Conclusions. No consistent significant associations were found between TCVs and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Conflicting results were found at different HMOs for certain outcomes. For resolving the conflicting findings, studies with uniform neurodevelopmental assessments of children with a range of cumulative thimerosal exposures are needed.05/17/2004 - After reviewing scientific studies that examined thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, the Institute of Medicine, IOM, concludes in a report that the studies “consistently provided evidence of no association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.”
07/07/2007 – CDC issues a statement on autism and thimerosal that states in part “Some people believe increased exposure to thimerosal (from the addition of important vaccines recommended for children) explains the higher prevalence [of autism] in recent years. However, evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association.“
09/27/2007 – A CDC study does not support an association between early exposure to thimerosal in vaccines and nervous system disorders in children between the ages of 7 and 10 years.
The weight of the evidence in this study does not support a causal association between early mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and/or immunoglobulins and neuropsychological functioning at ages 7 to 10 years.09/13/2010 – Another CDC study, published in Pediatrics, shows no connection between prenatal and infant exposure to thimerosal and autism rates. The authors concluded as such (emphasis added):
CONCLUSIONS In our study of MCO members, prenatal and early-life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was not related to increased risk of ASDs.