Groups Oppose Mercury Bans
Some health and medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Immunization Action Coalition, are opposing legislation in California and other states to ban the use of mercury in children's vaccines, the Los Angeles Times reports.
California in 2004 passed a law banning vaccines with more than trace amounts of thimerosal, which contains about 50% ethyl mercury, for use in children younger than age three and pregnant women. The law is set to take effect July 1.
Mercury can damage the nervous system, and some believe infants and toddlers are particularly at risk because of their low body weights and developing brains, the Times reports.
However, AAP and similar organizations say that there is no proof that the amount of mercury in vaccines is harmful. In addition, they say that restrictions on vaccines could lead to shortages or to people not receiving the shots.
CDC also has said that bans on thimerosal could cause confusion over which vaccines are acceptable and lead to some children not being immunized (Levin, Los Angeles Times, 4/10).
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act -- which President Bush last year signed into law -- "removes the right to due process and judicial review for persons injured by vaccines, thus granting a virtual license to kill," Lewis Seiler, president of the Voice of the Environment, and Dan Hamburg, a former U.S. representative and executive director of the organization, write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece.
"It's worth considering why the drug companies feel they need" PREPA, which also pre-empts state laws, Seiler and Hamburg write, asking, "Is it because they have known for decades that their product is harmful?" (Seiler/Hamburg, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/10).