Mercury (Thiomersal)

Single-dose vaccines approved in Germany are free of thiomersal and mercury!1

 

Thiomersal (also known as thimersal) is a preservative that contains mercury. It was contained in inactivated vaccines for many decades. In the 1990s, concerns were repeatedly expressed that the addition was associated with autism and neurological retardations. As a precaution, it was therefore banned from vaccines2 in Germany and the USA around 2002.

Numerous studies were finally able to refute the suspected connections. In 2004, for example, the European Medicines Agency3 revised the evaluation of thiomersal in vaccines. It contradicted the suspected links with neurological developmental disorders and concluded that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the theoretical risks of thiomersal.

The WHO also came to the following conclusion in 20064:

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety concludes that there is no evidence of toxicity in infants, children or adults exposed to thiomersal (containing ethyl mercury) in vaccines.

In fact, it is important to distinguish between two forms of mercury: Ethyl mercury (etHg), which was present in vaccines, and methyl mercury (meHg), which is absorbed into the body through food (especially fish). Ethyl mercury has a much shorter half-life5 than methyl mercury and is therefore excreted more quickly.

For comparison: a large can of tuna with 140g contains approx. 54.6 µg (140g * 0.39 µg/g6) methyl mercury, with oral intake approx. 95%7 is absorbed. This is considerably more than a multi-dose vaccine for influenza (which is generally no longer used in Germany), which contains approx. 25 µg8 ethyl mercury.

Quellenverweise

  1. Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI). Frage: Sind Quecksilberbestandteile von Impfstoffen schädlich und gefährlich? [Internet]. 2014. Abgerufen 21.11.2018. Verfügbar unter: https://www.pei.de/DE/infos/fachkreise/impfungen-impfstoffe/faq-antworten-impfkritische-fragen/impfung-quecksilber/impfung-quecksilber-thiomersal-inhalt.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Timeline: Thimerosal in Vaccines (1999-2010) [Internet]. Abgerufen 21.11.2018. Verfügbar unter https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/timeline.html
  3. European Medicines Agency (EMA). EMA Public Statment On Thiomersal in vaccines for human use - recent evidence supports safety of Thiomersal-containing vaccines [Internet]. 2004. Verfügbar unter: https://www.ema.europa.eu/documents/scientific-guideline/emea-public-statement-thiomersal-vaccines-human-use-recent-evidence-supports-safety-thiomersal_en.pdf
  4. World Health Organization (WHO). Statement on thiomersal [Internet]. 2006. Verfügbar unter: http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/thiomersal/statement_jul2006/en/
  5. Dórea JG, Farina M, Rocha JBT. Toxicity of ethylmercury (and Thimerosal): a comparison with methylmercury: Comparative toxicity of ethyl- and methylmercury. Journal of Applied Toxicology. August 2013;33(8):700–11. Verfügbar unter: https://doi.org/10.1002/jat.2855
  6. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2012) [Internet]. 2017 [zitiert 21. November 2018]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm115644.htm
  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Public Health Statement for Mercury [Internet]. 1999 [zitiert 21. November 2018]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=112&tid=24
  8. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Thimerosal and Vaccines [Internet]. 2018 [zitiert 21. November 2018]. Verfügbar unter: https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#t1

Author: Manuel Kuhlmann; Fragen und Anmerkungen gerne per Mail an manuel.kuhlmann@impf-dich.org