Delegates at UN talks in Geneva approved measures to control the use of the highly toxic metal, which is widely used in chemical production and small-scale mining, in order to limit mercury emissions.
The executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, said: "To agree on global targets is not easy to do. There was no delegation here that wished to leave Geneva without drafting a treaty."
In 2011 a third session of an intergovernmental negotiating committee met to prepare a global legally binding instrument on mercury. On discussing the health effects of exposure to mercury they concluded:
"Thiomersal, which is used as a preservative in some vaccines and other medical products, contains ethylmercury. The half-life of ethylmercury is six days compared with 40-50 days for methylmercury. Ethylmercury is actively excreted into the intestinal tract and not accumulated in the body. It rapidly converts to inorganic mercury, which is less toxic to the brain than ethylmercury or methylmercury. In the light of the nature of ethylmercury and the amounts found in thiomersal, WHO concludes in its report (set out in annex I) that "there is no evidence that suggest a possible health hazard with the amounts of thiomersal currently used, in particular no developmental nor neurological defects have been related to the use of this compound."This statement is blantantly false. There are dozens of scientific inquiries and studies on the adverse effects of thimerosal, including gastrointestinal abnormalities and immune system irregularities.
However, according to some delegates, this chapter can now be closed. "We have closed a chapter on a journey that has taken four years of often intense, but ultimately successful negotiations and opened a new chapter towards a sustainable future," said Fernando Lugris, the Uruguayan diplomat who chaired the negotiations.
Joe DiGangi, a science adviser with advocacy group IPEN noted there was no requirement that each country create a national plan for how it will reduce mercury emissions.
One of the limitations on discussions relating to mercury in vaccines appears to be the comparisons made to exposure levels of mercury compounds through occupational activities, diet and the environment, all which are very different from direct injection in the blood stream, however this little tidbit seems to be inconsequential according to the commitee.
"Effects on the nervous system (especially the developing nervous system) appear to be the most sensitive toxicological endpoint observed following exposure to elemental mercury and methylmercury, while damage to the kidneys is the key endpoint in exposure to inorganic mercury compounds. People are exposed to methylmercury primarily through their diet, especially through the consumption of fish and other marine species, as well as through the consumption of rice when it is grown in a methylmercury-rich environment. People may be exposed to elemental or inorganic mercury through inhalation of ambient air during occupational activities and from dental amalgams."Research from the Environment International Journal showed that women with higher levels of mercury exposure are more than twice as likely to have elevated levels of antibodies that are associated with autoimmune disorders such as arthritis and lupus.
In sufficient doses, methylmercury can affect the developing nervous system in the developing fetus and in growing children. In adults, elevated methylmercury exposure can lead to neurological problems, such as memory loss and tremors. Recent studies show that methylmercury exposures can also lead to cardiovascular and immune effects.
Public watchdog the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD) sent an open letter to the World Health Organization and other public health agencies to stop the use of mercury in human drugs, especially vaccines.
Although the FDA gave a two year deadline to remove thimerosal from vaccines after they were banned in 1997, they continue to appear in vaccine formulations and ironically the FDA is now only supporting these drugs, not prohibiting them.
In 2009, eight out of ten H1N1 vaccines had thimerosal. Last year's 2011/2012 flu vaccine season saw three out of five FDA approved vaccines containing thimerosal. This year, the 2012/2013 season offers three out of six flu vaccines which contain thimerosal and all are FDA approved of course.
In Canada, the non-adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine in 2009 contained 10 times the amount of Thimerosal as the adjuvanted vaccine that was being distributed. It was administered to young children and pregnant women.
In ongoing negotiations, the World Health Organization and other global distributors of vaccines have defended the continuing use of mercury, especially in vaccines. They maintain that there is no evidence of harm from Thimerosal. Dr. Mark R. Geier, a CoMeD director, cautions, "Recent statements by those holding national and global responsibility for vaccine safety are difficult to reconcile with the known and published toxicity of Thimerosal." Eight decades of scientific literature have shown that Thimerosal poses a significant health risk and its manufacturers acknowledge it can cause mild to severe mental retardation in children.
UNEP effectively dismissed the CoMeD director's claims:
GACVS [Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety] also reviewed a series of studies by Geier and Geier alleging reduction of neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States of America following discontinuation of thiomersal-containing vaccines in the national immunization programme. The Committee found a number of limitations, including: ...The Committee therefore found the conclusions made by these authors unconvincing.Despite government directives to remove mercury from vaccines, thimerosal (the mercury containing preservative) remained in 3 out of 5 flu vaccines for the 2011/2012 flu season and remained in .
A study in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry examined mercury exposure in the context of primary exposure to pregnant women and secondary exposure experienced by their unborn babies.
In meetings with the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD) held in Santiago, Chile, the Vice President of the Chilean Senate, Alejandro Navarro Brain, committed to adopting legislation in the Senate that would prohibit the mercury-based preservative Thimerosal from vaccines.
Chile's decision in early 2012 came as the World Health Organization (WHO) met in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a global, legally-binding treaty on mercury use.
Reverend Lisa K. Sykes, President of CoMeD, stated "The most vulnerable among us continue to be intentionally exposed to mercury from Thimerosal in childhood vaccines. This exposure is entirely avoidable, and must be stopped."
According to CoMeD, numerous scientific studies and extensive peer-reviewed scientific and medical papers have all concluded that Thimerosal poses a significant health risk. Thimerosal manufacturers also acknowledge that the preservative can cause mild to severe mental retardation in children.
Health officials in the U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia and around the world are officially crossing into dangerous territory with parents when it comes to vaccinations. Not only are public health entities habitually and deliberately failing to inform the public of their right to refuse vaccines in both school and work settings, but they are working towards mandatory vaccination protocols which will allow officials to conduct childhood vaccinations without any parental consent at all.
The day may come when all members of the public are prohibited from knowing the exact ingredients used within vaccines. Although this is only a remote possibility it's something vaccine manufacturers are aggressively pushing towards. On the conclusions of such treaties as discussed above, we can see why the desire is so strong to keep the public in the dark.
In the end, the more they push towards keeping people in ignorance, the more they will be pushed in the opposite direction. It is inevitable. In the meantime, for those who insist mercury is out of vaccines, please show them the evidence.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.