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Florida Legislature Refuses to Limit Mercury in Vaccines

SILVER SPRING, Md., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – CoMeD – On Friday, May 6, 2011, in Tallahassee, Florida, a Republican State Senator filed an amendment to regulate vaccines containing mercury in Florida.  The amendment would have made it illegal to buy, sell, manufacture, deliver, import, administer or distribute any vaccine that contained more than 0.3 micrograms of organic or inorganic mercury per milliliter for children younger than age 7 or pregnant women.  Despite support for this vaccine safety measure, the amendment was voted down.

Concern continues that mercury, in the form of Thimerosal, is still used in vaccines at all because mercury is recognized to cause cancer, genetic mutations, miscarriages and birth defects.  Today, 2-phenoxyethanol, an economical, less toxic alternative to Thimerosal, has been used as a preservative in some formerly Thimerosal-preserved U.S. vaccines licensed since 2001, because of the 1999 call by the U.S. Public Health Services and the American Academy to remove Thimerosal from U.S. vaccines "as soon as possible."

This amendment would have afforded pregnant women and young children significant protection from mercury exposure through flu shots, where most doses are still Thimerosal-preserved and are routinely recommended for administration to children and pregnant women.

In March 2009, the Governor's Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders in the State of Florida issued a report recommending that Florida "explore the prohibition of the purchase and administration of all mercury-containing (e.g., Thimerosal) vaccines."  The report also acknowledged, "…new, peer-reviewed scientific literature…suggests a causal relationship between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism."

Ignoring that report and the ever-increasing evidence of harm, Florida Senator Nan Rich (D-Sunrise), who opposed the amendment, stated, "All the credible evidence out there shows that Thimerosal has nothing to do with autism," as if other proven harms linked to Thimerosal in vaccines do not matter. Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) erroneously claimed mercury had been removed from all vaccines.  A prominent Tallahassee lobbyist reported that he had never, in his 20-year career, seen such as swarm of pharmaceutical industry lobbyists descend on Tallahassee in opposition to a bill.

The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) continues to publicize new studies that prove organic mercury in vaccines and elemental mercury in "silver-amalgam" dental fillings, are associated with neurological deficits such as autism, language delay and tics in children, and Alzheimer's in adults. A new study from Behavioural Brain Research concluded, "…existing research calls for prudence and removal of (Thimerosal) from all medicinal, cosmetic and food products designated for children and pregnant women."  

Citing a recent study from the University of Brazil, which recognized both the benefit of vaccines and the unnecessary risk of Thimerosal, Rev. Lisa K. Sykes, President of CoMeD, observed, "Putting poison in a baby shot is ludicrous, especially when we know mercury is an unwarranted vaccine ingredient.  The Florida Senators who voted this amendment down are clearly more interested in the wellbeing of the lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry than in the wellbeing of Florida's children."

SOURCE Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD)
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