Vet vaccine dogThimerosal has been getting a lot of bad press lately – and rightly so.

This mercury-based vaccine additive has been used as a preservative for decades – and apparently the extreme neurotoxicity that mercury in general and Thimerosal in particular have also been known for decades.

In 1935, Eli Lilly (the creator of Thimerosal), was contacted by veterinary vaccine manufacturer Pittman-Moore after they declared Thimerosal as completely safe. Pittman-Moore wrote to them:

“We have obtained marked local reaction in about 50% of the dogs injected with serum containing dilutions of Merthiolate (Thimerosal). Merthioiate is unsatisfactory as a preservative for serum intended for use on dogs.” (Director of Biological Services, Pittman-Moore Company, letter to Dr. Jamieson of Eli Lilly Company dated 1935. U.S. Congressional Record, May 21, 2003, E1018, page 9).

Since then, studies have been repeated to show the dangers of Thimerosal.

In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found Thimerosal killed mice when added to vaccines. In 1972, Eli Lilly found Thimerosal to be “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million (PPM), 100 times weaker than the in a typical vaccine. Despite all of this ongoing and emerging data, Eli Lilly “continued to promote Thimerosal as ‘nontoxic,’” even including Thimerosal in topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with Thimerosal was dabbed on their umbilical cords. In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products containing Thimerosal. In 1991 the FDA considered banning Thimerosal from animal vaccines.

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Finally, in 2006, researchers at UC Davis published a study connecting thimerosal with disruptions in antigen-presenting cells known as dendritic cells obtained from mice. Researchers and parents had previously proposed links between childhood vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects language skills and social interactions. The UC Davis study indicates that in addition to being a direct neurotoxicant, Thimerosal may also be an immunotoxicant, leaving the immune system vulnerable to microbes and other external influences. Samuel R. Goth et al. Uncoupling of ATP-Mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated Interleukin-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal

Today, most veterinary vaccines still contain Thimerosal – despite the dire warning signs that have been present for nearly a century. Why is Thimerosal necessary for vaccines? Well, it turns out it isn’t. Thimerosal has one function – it allows vaccine manufacturers to package vaccines in multi-dose vials which means that each vaccine will cost a few dollars less. Thimerosal would be completely unnecessary if vaccines were manufactured in single-dose vials.

The cost of Thimerosal-free vaccines is a few dollars. The cost of vaccines preserved with Thimerosal however is much greater – and much more deadly.