Senate Health Committee Approves Bill To Ban Mercury in Certain Vaccines
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday voted 10-2 to approve a bill (AB 2943) that would ban the use of thimerosal -- a preservative that is about 50% ethyl mercury -- in vaccines administered to pregnant women and children younger than age three by 2006, the Los Angeles Times reports (Levin, Los Angeles Times, 6/24). Under the bill, sponsored by Assembly member Fran Pavley (D-Woodland Hills), physicians would no longer administer vaccines that contain more than trace amounts of thimerosal to pregnant women and infants. The U.S. Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 began to advocate the elimination of thimerosal from vaccines because some infants who received them were exposed to mercury at levels that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency guidelines (California Healthline, 6/23). However, vaccine manufacturers have begun to reintroduce thimerosal in vaccines as part of a CDC recommendation that all infants receive influenza vaccinations, according to the Times. The Sierra Club and the California Nurses Association support the legislation, and the California chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians have dropped their previous opposition to it (Los Angeles Times, 6/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.