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 May 13, 2005
Vaccine Preservative Not as Dangerous as Claimed: Study
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A University of Washington study suggests that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal used in many vaccines may not be as dangerous as previously believed.

The researchers concluded that thimerosal is less toxic than mercury found in fish and pollution. However, the researchers noted that their study did not prove that thimerosal was harmless, BBC News reported.

They gave either ethyl mercury (found in thimerosal) or methyl mercury (found in pollution and fish) to 41 newborn monkeys. The study found that ethyl mercury cleared the body much more quickly than methyl mercury and, therefore, posed less of a health risk.

The findings appear in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"The current debate linking the use of thimerosal in vaccines to autism and other developmental disorders has led many families to question whether the potential risks associated with early childhood immunizations may outweigh the benefits," wrote study co-author Thomas Burbacher.

More research is needed to clarify the issue, he said.


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