Safety and thimerosal
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
The preservative thimerosal is no longer used in routine childhood vaccines in the United States, although it is used elsewhere in the world. But it once was used in the United States – into the late 1990s. And some parents think the mercury in the preservative caused autism.
Researchers who examined data on children in Argentina say that’s virtually impossible. Michael Pichichero of the University of Rochester says the infants who were given routine vaccines quickly excreted the mercury.
"Within just a couple of days, the mercury goes from barely detectable amounts to nondetectable." (6 seconds)
So Pichichero says parents whose kids got shots shouldn’t feel that the mercury in the shots caused any harmful effects.
The study in the journal Pediatrics was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011